Survival 101: Do you know about the resources around you, your immediate environment (home, apartment), people, neighbors, and networks.

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In this article I will discuss the need to know the resources around you for survival plan preparation. Lets start off with the scary stuff. In any given situation where society breaks down due to disease, war, terrorist attacks etc, your local large supermarket has about 2-3 days worth of food. If you live in a major city it will be less time. If it is an announced emergency you have less than 24 hours worth of food in the largest store. For people that live in Hurricane zones just recall the last time a Hurricane was predicted to hit and how the supermarkets and Home depot was loaded with people trying to get ready. If you are one those persons in that herd, you most likely won't make it. In a survival situation current information is King and Preparation is Queen and Time is Princess and Prince. If you are already prepared you can eliminate your need to wait in lines for things you probably won't get and use that time to get moving or hunker down depending on the threat. 


It will take the National guard up to 48 to 72 hours to mobilize and appear in any area, until that time first responders, Police, Firefighters, peace officers will have to hold it down until the Feds arrive, if they arrive. First responders will be overwhelmed ; case in point; study the case of Hurricane Katrina, it took the military some time to get there and establish order, the police were abandoning their posts, positions and some committed crimes against the city. When the military arrives it is the President's call if the area will be federalized, if so your local Police Dept. will fall under the flag of the military and the Military would be given Police Powers. This is very important to understand, under normal circumstance there is only one branch of the military that can fly the military flag and the Law Enforcement flag, that would be the U.S Coast Guard. The other branches have to be activated to have Police Powers by Congress.This all takes time and by the time this takes place many people would be dead. If you live in other countries you should make it a point to know how the government's emergency plan works or don't work, this is important because you can use it to your advantage. We will visit how in the future. 
So you will not be able to depend on the government to save you, you will need to have a plan that is resourceful and gives you a chance to survive. 


In knowing your surroundings let's discuss the greatest resource outside yourself and that would be other people. Who are your neighbors, what special skills do they have that may be of benefit to you in a survival situation, are there any Nurses, doctors, people who can heal with non traditional medicine, people who have been trained to defend themselves, Veterans, Master Gardeners-You can find these types even in urban areas. There are people who teach folks how to eat different native herbs and fungus that grows in Central Park NYC. Survival will require that you get out of your comfort zone and learn new skills and techniques that will aid you. Learning that pushes your abilities allow you to grow, anything that is comfortable for you is most likely not aiding you in a survival situation. So remember there are no arm chair survivalist in here, only those who are serious and willing to put in the work. 


You should know how to swim and all associated with you should know how to swim.You have to get out there and build your survival network. If you are one of those people who can't find anyone around that is interested in emergency planning or have any skills that would be beneficial to you, you will need to develop networks outside of your immediate environment. You also need to have a solid plan in place to get you to a secondary location. 

Resources in your environment, you should at this point make an effort to learn Water shed maps in your area. You should be able to know where the nearest freshwater streams are located. Streams over ponds because streams are moving, you can follow streams to larger bodies of water. You need to know the nearest source of fresh water. What wildlife if any is present?

#2 Where is the nearest saltwater body of water nearest to you, what is in it. If you live in a bridge locked city do you have access to a boat. 

#3 how do you get off an island that is bridge and tunnel locked. You need to learn about all the subway and train tunnels that leave the city and you will have to get out through those tunnels. This is an extreme measure and dangerous but it can be done.
If you have someone with a boat that is a way out.
Kayaking is a great skill to learn it is readily available to you.
Bikes can be essential to travel.
You need to get a Map with all primary and secondary roads.
You need to learn how to read a map.

If you find yourself unprepared you will have to access secondary locations for food. Secondary locations for food would be local food banks, instead of crowding stores hit the food-banks before the masses. You need to know where your Military Armory is located, you will need to know this for your protection if you find yourself stuck.
In case of disease or epidemics, you will need to know where the CDC is located in your community. It is located in Atlanta but there are other branches. Anchorage, Alaska; Cincinnati, Ohio; Fort Collins, Colorado; Hyattsville, Maryland; Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Spokane, Washington; and Washington, D.C.

In knowing your surrounding environment-
Question; could you empty your refrigerator and survive off only things you can catch or grow,right now for one week. If the answer is no, then you have some work to do, don't become overwhelmed by that statement, it is an analysis of the situation that many find themselves in, don't panic, today you are going to learn a new term.

The term we will use today to assess your situation is called a SWOT Analysis. You will use this analysis from now on; to plan, prepare and assess any dangerous situation requiring crisis management skills( Survival situations).

S=Strengths
W=Weaknesses
O=Opportunity
T=Threats

This is a formula that was developed by Albert Humphrey for the business community .
It is used to develop business models for companies for the purposes of having clear objectives, this makes success probable.
It was adapted by the Military, Law Enforcement and now is one of the models used in Crisis management.

We will use it for our needs.
Homework

Get a piece of paper and write these things down.

S=Strengths, what are your strengths, what skills do you have that could be valuable in a survival situation. What are the immediate strengths of people around you( Family, friends, etc,,) that would be of value. Do you have a survival plan?, can you live off food from your environment. Do you know how to fish, farm and hunt. Do you know which foods to store, shelf life etc...there are many things that you can come up with that would be in your strengths column.


W=Weakness; What are you weak in now, do you have networks around you to help with the deficiencies. Do have preexisting health conditions, bad health, over weight, out of shape, diabetes due to weight. I'm not talking about anything that you have due to genetics but instead what you have due to life style. Meaning corrective action on your part could change you health status. Are you in the process of changing these habits to get you off these medications. Any health issues would be a disadvantage to you or anyone with health issues connected to you would be at a disadvantage. The more you can rely on yourself the better off you will be in a survival situation and it gives you more leverage in situations where you may need assistance.

O=Opportunity-what opportunities will you be able to exploit in your environment, are there food-banks nearby, where is the nearest fresh water stream. What skills do you have now, what skills can you get now. Can you get out of NYC, if all the bridges are closed. Can you leave L.A if mass transportation is locked down or the highways are blocked with traffic. Do you have access to someone with a boat?
Are you getting a survival plan together? Are you building networks etc..... 

T=Threats-what are the immediate threats to your survival, are you surrounded by Criminal Gangs, do you have relationship with any members, do you have things that people will want that you possess but the only protection you have is the current legal system. Do you have females in your family? Can they defend themselves against men? There are many things that you can come up with in this column and do it without becoming afraid. Think of the absolute worse scenario and times by 10. Be prepare to counteract anything up that level. Anything past 10, would mean physical survival would not be an option.

In any survival scenario you will have to make a decision to leave or stay. Those questions can be asked and answered by being honest with yourself, your needs and preparation. We will explore those options in the next article.

Posted on May 16, 2011 .