Old School Knowledge: Survival and Emergency Preparedness

Here at Rio’s Walkabout, I wanted to post a bit of advice about life from what I’ve gathered through my years of living it. However, some of my recent posts have been quite random and mildly obscure (Star Wars vs Star Trek). So today I’m going to refocus on my original objective and provide useful and relevant advice for my readers. Admittedly, today’s topic should not really fall under old school knowledge since everyone very much still needs to know this. Sadly, however, I feel that survival emergency preparedness skills have taken a back seat as of late. It’s time to change that! The world is not always the safest place and so it is important that everyone do what they can to increase their chances of survival.

While nearly everything I wrote here came directly from my noggin, SEO, said I needed an external link and so I did some digging and found a cool site for you all. It’s called Offgrid Survival, I’m not affiliated in any way, but check them out.

What is survival and emergency preparedness?

Survival and emergency preparedness are activities of learning, practicing, and applying knowledge and skill required to prepare for real-world threats. These threats can be man-made disasters or natural disasters. Basically, it is doing what it takes to be as ready as you can to overcome dire and extraneous situations. It is the ability to rise up to any occasion and ensure that you maximize your well-being and the safety of those immediately around you.

Examples of dire or extraneous situations:

  1. Natural disasters: Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, tornados, drought, landslides, wildfires, and hurricanes.
  2. Man-made disasters: Oil spills, wildfires, nuclear power plant explosions, war, car accidents and crashes, and criminal activities. Basically, any disasters that are influenced by humans. Often occurring as a result of negligence or human error, among other factors.
  3. Miscellaneous freak accidents: Getting pinned under a boulder during a hike, driving a car into a river, or zombie apocalypses.

Survival, zombies

How do you prepare for survival and emergencies?

Now that you know what survival and emergency preparedness are and some examples of what exactly disasters are, it’s time to learn more about the steps you can take to become better prepared.

These four steps will help you prepare for emergencies and increase your survivability:

  1. Get your mind right!
  2. Purchase appropriate tools and equipment.
  3. Develop an action plan, as well as contingency plans.
  4. Practice using your tools and equipment.

Get your mind right!

This is perhaps the most important thing you can/should do. Survival is more often than not determined by your mental capacity to fight through hard times. Stories of soldiers in POW (prisoners of war) camps demonstrate the importance of a strong mind. In these harsh conditions, it takes more than just strong physique to make it out alive. Other examples of situations that need an indomitable mind include being stranded in the middle of the ocean from a shipwreck for days or being trapped under piles of rubble after an earthquake.

Your mind during such perilous situations is the only weapon you have that will get you out, or at least keep you alive long enough for help to arrive. Train it to work for you and not against you.

  • Develop and work on improving your discipline.
  • Think positively about your life and learn to appreciate all that you have.
  • Develop and work on improving your self-confidence.
  • Incorporate “alpha” thinking habits by believing that you can do anything and everything.
  • Develop an indomitable will to win, to survive, and to live your life to the fullest.

Purchase Appropriate Tools and Equipment

No matter how strong, fast, or skilled you are you’ll have a hard time defeating somebody or something that is better equipped. Don’t believe me? I’ll bet you money that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in his prime would have a difficult time beating Bill Gates climbing out of a twenty-foot deep trench if Bill had access to his cell phone and a helicopter equipped with a rope ladder.

To prepare for catastrophic events always be sure that you have the right equipment and resources you need for the appropriate situation. Most of the time you will not need anything more than basic emergency equipment and food rations that should be stored in a safe place in your home.

Knife, Compass, Map

Basic Equipment

  1. Two flashlights -preferably one being hand-crank powered
  2. Candles and matches -preferably a lighter with fuel and/or glow sticks
  3. A thermal space blanket
  4. Pocket knife -preferably a camping or survival knife
  5. Duct tape
  6. Band-aids and first aid kit
  7. A hand-crank powered radio
  8. Batteries of various sizes, typically AAs, AAAs, Cs, and Ds, etc.
  9. Enough emergency food (canned and preserved) and water to last for 2 weeks (based on your caloric needs)
  10. A backpack and rope
  11. Contact information of everyone you know written down on hard copy (including pictures of relatives)
  12. Hard copy of maps and emergency procedures
  13. High visibility jacket
  14. Heavy duty gloves

As the situation and activity changes, you’ll need to read and acquire on your own specific items that might be needed. For instance, if you’re going hiking in a mountainous location known to have mountain lions, it would be good to bring flares, a whistle, pepper spray, and possibly a firearm (assuming you are licensed to carry).

While I personally believe in home defense and the right to bear arms, not everyone is comfortable doing so. The choice is ultimately yours, just remember that owning a gun comes with great responsibility. Whether you do decide to own a gun or not, I would definitely encourage you to head down to the local gun store/range and try one out. Not only is it incredibly fun (when done responsibly) but it’s a skill everyone should have in their skill set.

Develop an Action Plan and Contingency Plans

Before any large-scale project can take place a plan must be created to ensure that everything is completed in order and without problems. Not only will a plan clearly detail action items and tasks for everyone to perform, a plan works to improve the efficiency of said tasks as it allows all involved a visual representation of what should happen. It’s like when Doc Brown from Back to the Future creates the mock-up plan for Marty to drive his DeLorean 80-mphs through the cable that is connected to the clock tower. Marty and the audience can clearly see what is expected of both The Doc and of Marty. Playing out the scenario makes sure everyone is onboard with the plan and helps to identify any piece that might be missing.

Think Like a Special Forces Operative

You should know all the exit routes of any location you are in and constantly look “for an out”. This practice is done by professionally trained operatives such as undercover agents and military personnel. They make it their mission to know the best escape routes and procedures to follow to increase their survivability and you should do this as well. Always observe your environment and the people immediately around you carefully and plan for an unexpected and expedience retreat if necessary.

Your family should know exactly where they need to go for any type of emergency, whether that is a fire or burglary, and they should know how to get to that specific location. The family should work efficiently as a team and support one another. To accomplish this, ask yourself pertinent questions like:

  • Do you want your children to run out of the house?
  • To the master bedroom?
  • Do you want to hold up in a safe room?
  • Will you stand and fight?
  • What supplies and equipment should be stored where and who should carry said supplies and equipment?
  • Does everyone know how to turn off/on utilities or reset circuit breakers?
  • Does everyone know how to dial 911 (specifically for children)?

Ultimately, you must decide on your own plan. My only advice is that in the real-world, things never go according to plan, and many times you’ll be forced into doing something other than what you originally planned to do. This is why you need contingency plans. Plans upon plans. If you can carry out at least 80% of your objective, you’ll be in good shape.

Practice Using Your Tools and Equipment (and Plan)

Once you have the right state of mind, your tools and equipment, and a solid plan it’s time to practice. Practice, practice, practice.

  • Learn how to use your all your tools such as flashlights, radios, knives, first-aid kits, etc.
  • If you decide to purchase and own a gun, make sure you practice using it at a certified gun range at least once a month.
  • Run through your all your plans with your family multiple times and set up a schedule to refresh your skills based on your needs.
  • Get in shape and continue normal aerobic and anaerobic exercises to keep up physical strength and endurance.

That includes Old School Knowledge: Survival and Emergency Preparedness. Good Luck out there boys and girls.

Also, since you made it this far, here’s a bonus tip:

If you run into a brown bear (unexpectedly and too close to get away without being detected), play dead. Cover your head and guts, lay belly down and don’t move or present yourself as a threat. The bear will get a couple good hits in but will ultimately leave you alone. Unless its cubs are there, then well, I’m sorry. If you run into a black bear, fight at all costs. Make yourself seem larger than you are and make a lot of noise. Find a weapon and stand your ground. A black bear will not stop attacking you until you are dead even if you don’t present yourself as a threat.

“Survival can be summed up in three words. Never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying.”

— Bear Grylles

29 thoughts on “Old School Knowledge: Survival and Emergency Preparedness

  1. Old school knowledge is a handy way to go more often

  2. Totally agree on the need to be prepared. We all need to be prepared for any emergencies as life is unpredictable. Your post is well detailed.

    1. Thanks, Muhammad. I’m trying to write more helpful posts alongside the fun philosophical and psychological ones 🙂

  3. Wow, there are some awesome tips here. I think its better to be safe than sorry and be prepared for an emergency and know how to handle it!

    1. Thank, Lisa! I agree. Definitely better safe than sorry. I hope this post reaches someone in time to help them someday.

  4. We don’t often think about being prepared in everyday real world situations. Great read! Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is intresting old school knowledge is required in our life but not many use it

    1. We all can use a bit more old school knowledge. Stuff our grandparents knew and did everyday is almost completely lost to us in this day and age! It’s crazy! Thanks for reading and the comment 🙂

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