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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 101 - 3/3/2003
Have You Made Any Extra Security Preparations?
Faced with the potential threats of terrorism and/or war, many governments have asked their citizenry to ‘be prepared’. Have you stocked up on any items? Do you have a first aid kit? How’s your plastic to duct tape ratio?
Should you ever have to vacate your home and you could only take ten (10) items with you, what would these items be?
If you are trained in outdoor survival skills, medical emergencies or in other related areas, what advice can you share with us on how to be prepared in case the unthinkable does come to pass? What ten things do you think everyone should have on hand?
| Reponses: There are 85 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| Duct Tape Is Pretty Pointless, Really... ||Mar 4th. at 8:56:18 pm UTC|
|Meghan (Vienna, Virginia) ||Age: 15 - Email |
I think it's a good idea for everyone to have a first aid kit lying around somewhere, but other than that, I haven't made any special precautions for terrorist activities. Think about it - being cautious will not help unless someone puts a ticking suitcase right in front of you. It's not like you're going to be able to see a bomb coming and run away. Chemical attacks? If you seal a room with that plastic and duct tape they keep telling you to buy, you'll only have enough air for about five hours. Unless you plan to avoid cars, roads, tall buildings, amusement parks, and all public places until terrorism is non-existant, there is no way being 'prepared' will really help you. Terrorism is not a conventional way of fighting - it's unpredictable. You can't be prepared for something that you can't predict, unless you create an hermetically sealed underground shelter to hide in for the next decade. Buy a first aid kit and some spring water and stop worrying about it.
| Thanks To All For The Great Responses ||Mar 4th. at 7:24:44 pm UTC|
|KITTYMAN (Auburn WA) ||Age: 45 - Email |
Wow, I actually learned some things here reading all your posts. Thank you all for responding.
Having survived two major level 5 & 4 Hurricanes when I lived in Florida....I found the most problematic thing was all the looters, I expected them, but I was overwhelmed at their overwhelming numbers. Even having been prepared for the devastation and destruction, you never know..... Just something for you all to think about.
| "Extra" Precautions--- No ||Mar 4th. at 7:12:22 pm UTC|
|Running Wolf (Ohio) ||Age: 45 - Email |
Everybody should, all the time, be prepared for emergencies. In my family, we each have an emergency kit kept in the car, and there is an emergency repair kit for the car as well. Each kit gets inspected and repacked once per year. I have taken my children camping, where we pretended our car had broken down in a remote area and we had to survive the weekend just on what was in the car. At home, we have spare gasoline (for the car) , a kerosene heater, a portable stove, canned foods, and other items that allow us to live comfortably and safely in our home for up to a week, even in the winter.
As far as the current terrorism hysteria goes--we have and will not make any special preparations. We are not going to allow fear to rule our lives. If we do that the terrorists win. Their aim is not to kill or destroy: there is a reason they are called "terror" -ists.
That said, there is one thing I have not seen mentioned in previous posts. Several people have very good ideas for emergency supply items. But suppose you have to leave your home? Whatever items you decide to have on hand, they should be as portable as possible. Have the most needed items packed in a backpack or handbag, ready to grab-and-go at a moment's notice. I advocate keeping your emergency kit in your car, so you will have it wherever you are.
I also strongly believe in Red Cross first aid training and certification. It's affordable, and since you never know when proper first aid knowledge will be needed, there is no reason not to be trained.
Ok. I just decided to get wordy here. Chemical and biological weapons are on everybody's minds, so: I have been told by someone claiming knowledge (i.e., works in the field) that bioweapons work much better in the lab than in the wild. The problem, apparently, is the delivery. Methods that work well for spreading gas (like artillery shells) tend to kill germs. They also have a limited shelf life once loaded into the dispersal mechanism. I may have been misled here, biology is not my strong point, but it seems reasonable to me.
Chemical weapons are another story. Chemical weapons are scary. Anyone who has read of the horrors of World War I and seen the pictures can appreciate this. Part of the reason for the horrific casualties of that war was that the troops were living in trenches, and war gases tend to be heavier than air. For war gases to be effective they have to be employed when enviromental conditions are right--or at least not wrong. A light breeze--going in the right direction--is good; a strong wind is not. Rain is bad. Etc. Most gases are not persistant--they dilute or decompose within hours or at most a few days. Any surface contaminated with chemical agents will become safe to handle faster if exposed to the weather. There are some exceptions; some chemical agents leave an oily residue. Just about any contaminated item can be rendered safe by burning it--just remember to stay upwind.
If you are in an area that may have been exposed to airborne chemical agents, the best thing to do is run away. Hold your breath, determine which way the wind is blowing, and run as fast as you can at a 90 degree angle to the wind. DO NOT run downwind or upwind!! Your goal is to get out of the noxious cloud as quickly as possible, which you do by running crosswise to the wind. If you are, in fact, exposed to an agent, even just a little, get medical attention as soon as possible. You may not need it, but getting checked over never hurts. (Several years ago, when I was visiting a chemical manufacturing plant, all visitors had to read and initial a document detailing what to do if there was an "accident" during your visit, before being allowed past the security checkpoint. The instructions basically boiled down to, "hold your breath and run like hell".)
At home, in my opinion, covering your house with saran-wrap and duct tape is just plain dumb. The average house has so many crevices and other openings that air (or nerve gas) can get in that you will never find them all. Feeling more secure is not the same as actually being more secure. But it's great for the plastic wrap and duct tape companies.
Another point; while there are gas masks available to people to work in certain industries, these are not things you can just go into a store and buy. Military gas masks are not available to the public. If you find a gas mask at a surplus store I can just about guarantee it's worthless. And gas masks do not protect you against substances absorbed through the skin. Protective clothing used in the military is also not available to the public.
Finally, don't take everything I've written here as gospel. I'm not an expert, all I know is what I learned in military training. If you are really concerned, educate yourself. I am not taking any extra precautions because I don't feel the need. And I am not going to cower.
| I Would Bring... ||Mar 4th. at 7:02:29 pm UTC|
|Lunar Man ("New Yawk") ||Age: 45 - Email |
9) More Beer
| Where You Are. ||Mar 4th. at 6:52:58 pm UTC|
|tedd savage (Everetts, nc) ||Age: 51 - Email |
If you live in a large city, the ten things you should take, would relate to getting as far away as possible. If you live where I live, then either I have what I need already or I kiss my ass goodby.
| All Hail Eris, All Hail Discordia ||Mar 4th. at 5:26:32 pm UTC|
|Bittersweet (Western New York) ||Age: 29 - Email - Web|
I always wear clean underwear, so no worries there....
1) Lots of hairbands. You could probably link 50, 000 of them and make a rope strong enough to hold a 250lb. person.
2) A spatula.
3) A TI-85. I hear you can rig these up to act like ATMs and food dispensers.
4) Those little unbrellas they put in fancy mixed drinks.
5) My ferret. (He speaks Vulcan.)
6) Standard-size security envelopes. There must be a reason they're called "security" envelopes.
7) Instant vegan jello.
8) A #2 pencil. (You never know.)
9) My plastic Dungeons & Dragons paladin that looks just like Kirk Douglas from Spartacus.
10) An ironing board.
| Preparedness Is An Every Day Thing.... ||Mar 4th. at 3:16:17 pm UTC|
|Shane (Mansfield) ||Age: 31 - Email |
not just something you do in an emergency. That means walking thru this world like you belong here and being aware of what is going on around you. It also means being ready to respond when something does happen. As for the ten things I'd take with me I'll just give you a list of the things I carry in mine and my wife's bug-out kit. We use a couple of army-surplus frame mounted medium alice packs. These can be bought in any army surplus store for around $50.00. It also helps if you have a partner or friend you can bug-out with. This way you can carry twice the gear and throw in a few things you might want to take instead of just the bare essentials.
1.) Medium size fixed blade knife (my wife's is a Cold Steel recon tanto)
2.) Kukri knife (Cold Steel here also, in my opinion this is better than a machette)
3.) Water purification device (tablets or filter will work in the short term)
4.) 1000ft. spool of parachute cord (infinite # of uses)
5.) Magnesium fire starter (I also have a zippo and lots of lighter fluid, with extra flints)
6.) One extra-pair of jeans, warm shirt, socks, and underwear (clean clothes can do wonders for moral)
7.) 3 days worth of MRE's (short term food)
8.) 2 camouflage tarps
9.) Camelback hydration system (fancy canteen)
10.) A manual on native plants and other flora.
These are the items I would carry with me. There are some others that I would throw in the truck also. These include a dutch oven, a .22 caliber rifle for gathering small critters to eat. A 12 gauge shotgun for defense, spare ammunition for both. Extra blankets are good. I wouldn't bother with barter items, I've been an EMT for many years so I would just use my medical knowledge to barter with. Common sense and compassion are necessities as well, if the world is in such disarray that people are leaving their homes then we all will need some help. This is when finding others to band together with will come in handy. Also instead of carrying everything with you, many things can be foraged or "picked up" as you go wherever it is you are going.
I tend to be a minimalist, I consider this list my bare essentials, if it's a survival situation then I want the things that are going to keep me alive not comfortable. I have grown up in the Ozarks so I already have a strong knowledge base of woodsman skills. If you don't there are good books available to teach you. Also it's a good idea to carry items that serve dual purposes. Have a plan in place, it's easier to respond if you have already thought about these things and don't get caught flat footed. Finally, network with your friends and family, have several options available. Be realistic in your preparations and planning, define your immediate needs and have those things available, plan with a group or your family for future needs. We should all have several days or a couple of weeks worth of food and water on hand. I live in a remote area of southwest Missouri so these are things that we do already, I do keep a little extra food for the pets on hand but my animals are remarkable foragers so in the long term I don't worry about providing for them. They are constantly bringing half eaten critters up into the yard, and since there are five of them they pack hunt anyway. They keep the coyotes and other critters thinned out pretty good. Lastly, I hope it never gets that bad in this country but if it does then maybe we'll see each other down the trail. If you would like to trade ideas or network then by all means drop me an e-mail, we would be glad to hear from you.
| My Ten Things ||Mar 4th. at 3:00:33 pm UTC|
|Starchilde (Wisconsin) ||Age: 20 - Email |
would have to be a sharp knife, an axe, a knife sharpener kit, my .22 marlin, bullets, a good blanket, water purification tablets, a good pair of socks, a waterproof windproof lighter, and duct tape. Why? the knife would come in handy for all sorts of stuff, the axe for chopping firewood, the knife sharpener for when the axe and knife eventually went dull (actual random stones just dont work as well) my .22 and bullets for protection and food, blanket for warmth and if its a good tight weave it can be used to make shelter, the water tablets so i can have potable water, since you never know what has been dumped into a stream or lake, the socks, well, nothing is worse than having a pair of wet socks, the lighter for fires and light, and, yes, duct tape, it really does come in handy. Now, i dont suggest to everyone to go out and buy these things because not everyone is going to find these handy if living in the wild. if you don't know how to shoot, or never even handled a gun, do us all a favor and don't go out and buy one unless you go through hunters safety. I just happen to have been around them since I was little and taught how to use one when I was of age.
If you happen to get caught in the woods, don't assume that anything is edible unless you have been trained to know what is and isn't, people whom I have been walking in the woods with have tried to pick some strange and poisonous things, sometimes mistaking it for an edible plant that was of the same genus. I have grown up in the woods, and have been taught some survival skills. Remember, books work, especially if they have illustrations showing how this and that is done.
Well thats what i would take if i was told to vacate my home, but i doubt if it will come to that, even if there is war.
| Procautions & Provisions ||Mar 4th. at 2:52:40 pm UTC|
|Vi WitchHazel (PHOENIX, AZ) ||Age: 32 - Email |
I haven't actually stored or prepared anything yet, but I am this week.
*Food items that are easy to store and prepare,
*Changes of clothing already in a bag or near the bag.
*In ZipLocks keep identification and important papers.
*Plenty of dry & canned catfood.
*Medicine & vitamins & a few sentimental personal items.
*And as many candles as my husband will allow.
By the way, I wrote a poem for peace in the sand while visiting
the Pacific Ocean this past weekend.
I would like to share it:
Grant us Protection from Man and Best
From Dangers Great and Small
As we Raise our Voices...
"No Harm, No Harm, No Harm to All"
And if this overrides the freewill
of one man or two
Know we only meant for good and true.
As we have said so let it be done,
no curse upon us and harm to none.
So Mote It Be.
| Defeat... ||Mar 4th. at 2:40:39 pm UTC|
|Maggie Caldwell (MI) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I cannot bring myself to prepare for a threat of terrorism. If this is the type of world that we are living in, and myself and my family are going to be struck with nuclear weapons, then so be it. I would prefer to live each day as though it truly counted and die in a week than cower in my duck tape haven breathing through gas masks and live a year.
| Learning From The Movies ||Mar 4th. at 1:56:10 pm UTC|
|Anjie (North Dakota) ||Age: 20 - Email |
My younger brother and I talked about this once, though, it was more along the lines of: "what would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?" I should also note that we had just finished watching "Cast Away", and that that is how we got on the topic. We made a list of things Tom Hanks' character did wrong, and what we would do to prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes. We ended up deciding that we should absolutely always always carry a pocket knife, just in case we were ever stranded. We determined that we should at least make sure we knew a decent ammount about survival in the wilds. I'd found a good book on this, but i can't remember the title for the life of me. I do remember though that it was bound very securely in textured rubber, so that you could take it with you and not worry about it getting mangled. Very interesting stuff. Also, my brother and I decided that we should have a water-proof, rust proof case of water-proof matches. We found these both at Target.
| I Am Sick And Tired Of All Your Duck Tape Bashing. ||Mar 4th. at 1:21:46 pm UTC|
|Ryan W (lino lakes MN) ||Age: 18 - Email |
The thing I would want the most is Duck tape. If you have ever read the Duck tape books you know what I am talking about. I don’t think that it will stop a chemical attack but it is extremely useful nun the less. First off if you fold it along the short side than brad 3 strips together you can make a rope that can hold a 210-pound person off the ground (I have dun this so I know) . You can also waterproof anything, from your pants to a roof to a bag. For that mater you can make a bag or a case or even a backpack (again I have dun this so I know) . Admittedly you need a LOT of Duck tape but it is still very useful. As for the other things I would want a nice machete, 2 knives, 1 big axe and 2 small ones, a Dutch oven, a rope saw, flint and steel and finally a good friend. Everything ells I could find, make or hunt. I don’t see a need to rush out and buy all of that (mostly because I have it all anyway) . I live on a farm with lots of area and I could make it to Canada if I needed to. If you want to see a good (or at least a) movie about surviving a war rent Red Dawn. It isn’t realistic but it dose have people surviving in the wild.
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