2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Survival packs for the masses…..

Courtesy of some marketing guru capitalizing on people’s fears after 2 hurricanes batter the East and an earthquake no doubt.

Pic from a FaceBook friend, Jim, of what he found at a Home Depot
Seriously?  I mean, its better than nothing but for $40 what can you expect to get? Well, according to Home Depot’s web site, this….
It is always wise to be prepared with the Ready America Grab-and-Go Kit 2-Person Backpack. Each kit contains enough emergency supplies to sustain 2 people for 3 days according to the American Red Cross recommendations.
  • One 2-person backpack
  • Includes 33-piece first aid kit and enough emergency supplies to sustain 2 people for 3 days
  • Contains two 2400 calorie food bars and six 8.45 oz. water boxes, each with a 5-year shelf life
  • Includes basic survival essentials in accordance with American Red Cross recommendations
  • 2 12-hour safety lightsticks
  • 2 dust masks
  • 2 Pair of nitrile gloves
  • 1 Emergency whistle
  • Emergency ponchos
  • 1 Pocket tissues
  • 1 Two person backpack
Alright, again, not too shabby, but I see this as an opportunity to make it a better kit.  The first thing is to try and figure out where you will use and keep it in case of a disaster.  If you keep it in a closet at home and a disaster happens 20 miles away at work and you can’t get to it, well what then?  What if your emergency doesn’t necessitate you leaving your home?  Most of what is in the pack is pretty much wasted then….
here’s what I would do….
    • Add a cheap flashlight available for a couple of bucks at Home depot
    • Ditch the nitrile gloves and add a couple of cheap sets of jersey gloves from Home Depot (better at clearing debris and such than nitrile), maybe keep the nitrile gloves for first aid use.
    • What if you have to walk somewhere with the pack if you truly become a “refugee” with it?  Packing a couple of pairs of extra socks would be helpful.
    • Add a $1 bottle of hand sanitizer
    • Throw in a couple of bags of M&M’s and granola bars.
    • Add a few more emergency bars…one 2400 calorie bar per person for 3 days?  In an emergency I am sure you will be burning more than than…check out ER bars at Quakecare, for under $12 you can add 2 more meal bars for each person.
    • Throw a couple more of those cheap foil blankets in the bag, one for protection from the elements and one to sleep in…they fairly well suck by comparison to a sleeping bag and such, but if you know how to harness their ability to retain heat with other insulators found in “the wild” they can be a valuable tool for survival.
    • Throw a basic multitool or Swiss army knife in there.
    • Water in boxes, cool, but pouches are lighter and less bulky.  Better yet, a few cheap bottle of water work well but also offer the ability to be refilled by know good water sources if need be.  Keep in mind water will probably add more weight than anything else you carry, but in a true survival situation will  be what you use the most of.
These are just a few ideas to see where I am going with this.   Sure, this stuff will add a few more pounds to the mix, but this after all an emergency kit meant to be a tool for your survival right?  I am not talking about a kit that if you got dropped in the middle of a snowstorm on top of the Rocky Mountains with Grizzlies and zombies wondering the countryside that would keep you safe.  This is a “urban” survival kit as you can tell from its marketing.  What a kit like this would be good for is somebody who lives in a crowded city but may have to evacuated after an emergency.  Think of the visions 10 years ago of thousands of people hoofing it out of lower Manhattan after the attacks and you get the idea.
Notice I didn’t mention anything about weapons here, other than the knife which is merely a tool for the purposes of our discussion.  That is a topic for a post on its own.  Matter of fact, I have talked about it before….
Now that I think about it…I have talked about go bags and the like before also
Hmmm….common theme here…be prepared!
Just so you know I (sometimes) practice what I preach.  I was at Staples tonight with my daughter getting some items for a donation project with Girl Scouts when I saw these first aid pouches for $3…


For $3 I don’t expect much, and I didn’t get much either…IMG_0826[1]

But by canibalizing some minor first aid supplies from another cheap kit I had lying around….IMG_0827[1]

I could make this kit a much more capable minor injury kit to have on hand in a car, backpack or other such location. IMG_0828[1]
Not every injury in a SHTF or survival situation requires the use of an Israeli bandage or chest seal….sometimes it’s the little stuff that gets you…the little cuts and scrapes that get infected and turn into nasty wounds that make even the most basic of tasks a painful chore.  Those can slow you down enough to kill you in the right environment.

So what I am saying here is do not rely on these off the shelf “emergency kits” as is for your survival.  You need to evaluate different variables specific to you and your environment first to determine what needs to go, what needs to be added and what stays in them.  They sometimes provide a good basic frame to start with to build a decent kit around.  With proper modification these kits can be valuable tools for you and your family if and when needed.

And always, always check the contents of your kit for expired or damaged contents….

Hey! want to know what Jim thinks of his pic? Check out his own thoughts on it on his blog Gasandlead!

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