Our first goal is to survive the next three minutes. You may think to yourself, “I’m not a diver, so I don’t need to worry about this one.” Remember that every prep helps accomplish other goals. It is true that you will hardly ever need the 3 Minute Prep, but if you did, you will be glad to know you are ready. I believe that once you have accomplished the following, you will (or should) have greater peace of mind. I also recommend you do these things in the order they are presented.
ONE: Spice’s Pro Tip Number 1 – Auto Emergency Tool
Spice wrote a blog about a tool everyone needs to keep in the driver side pocket of their car so that you always know it is there. Click on this link to read her blog. It is an automobile emergency tool that costs about $6 and can be found at just about any auto parts store or big box retailer. This is a link to the tool on Amazon.com. If you don’t read her blog, here is a summary. It serves two functions: 1) it will cut through your seatbelt without harming you, and 2) it will break your window (which is a challenge without the proper tool). We highly recommend you purchase this very inexpensive tool that can save your life. Remember, it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t keep it where you can reach it with your seatbelt fastened.
Ka-Bar Becker BK2 “Campanion” Fixed Blade Knife (Salty’s survival knife of choice)
A knife will be indispensable and you will likely end up owning several. You probably have several already. As you learn more about knives you may choose to upgrade one or more of them.
If you are a diver, you should have one or more knives on your person in case you get caught on a fishing line or kelp or something. You can also use it to bang on your tank to get someone’s attention. Preppers have other uses.
You can use it as a primary defensive weapon (aside from a pistol). Knives are legal to carry. Some fold and can be carried discretely in your pocket. Everyone needs a good knife with a fixed or locking blade they can carry on their person at all times. Other knives you may want to consider are the ubiquitous Swiss Army knives that have multiple, handy functions.
Swiss Army Knife
A knife can also be used to cut off your seat belt if needed. Some, depending upon their design, can shatter a car window thus serving the same function as the above mentioned auto emergency tool. Here is a link to one such pocket knife that can do double duty.
THREE: Tornado / Storm Shelter
You don’t need a specially prepared, concrete lined hole in the ground to protect you during a tornado, but there are things you can do that will help save your life and prevent injury. This section is not intended to be a how-to guide for building a tornado shelter. It is intended to help you identify what part of your home might be best suited to survive tremendous winds and flying debris. Here is a link to how to select the safest part of your home.
The most important part of this is communicating to your family where to go when they hear about a tornado or hear the sirens. You might not be with your family. It isn’t good enough that you have a plan. You need to make sure your family knows exactly what to do in that situation.
There are some things you will want to keep in your tornado shelter.
- Radio – you will probably want to tune to a local station to hear what is happening and when it is safe to leave.
- Flashlight(s) – if the power goes out (it usually does) you will want to be able to see.
- Blanket(s) – good for general comfort and to prevent exposure.
- Water – always handy to have.
- Snacks – good way to maintain comfort and ease stress.
- Whistle – in case you are trapped and need to get someone’s attention.
Here are some other things I keep in my tornado closet to fit my situation.
- Clothes – invariably storms come at night when we are undressed. I keep a pair of shorts, t-shirt, socks and worn out pair of shoes for everyone in case something does happen.
- Framing hammer – in case I need to beat my way out.
- Screwdriver – to remove the screws on the plywood covering the walls if I need to exit that direction.
- Leather gloves – I hate splinters.
- Battery operated reciprocating saw – in case I need to cut my way out. Laugh if you will, but it has happened to me. Reciprocating saws can cut through wood, nails and screws. It is easy for me to get it from my tornado closet if I ever need it for another project. I rotate the battery every month or so and put a fresh one in the closet.
- Diapers & wipes – I have a toddler
FOUR: Merman’s Pro Tip Number 1 – Get Out Bag
This isn’t the typical Bug Out Bag you will see on other prepper sites. This one is specific to a micro event (a home or neighborhood), but it also works for a future preps, too. My home burned down in 1995. When I say it burned down, I mean the aluminum windows melted and the entire house including the foundation had to be removed. My modified bug out bag has things I need if my house catches on fire and I need to evacuate my home FAST. Believe me when I say you won’t have time to think about it and you shouldn’t go back inside.
For me, virtually everything I have is replaceable. This bag isn’t my “official” Bug Out Bag. It doesn’t have hardly anything in it, but these things are intended to make a bad situation better. I didn’t cost me anything but time (well, the family archive cost me $10).
- Shorts, t-shirt and flip flops for everyone in the family. We can get dressed outside, and we don’t want to stand around naked when the fire department arrives.
- Blanket – mostly for my daughter.
- Old cell phone. It is a functional piece of hardware, but doesn’t have the SIM card for cell service. My theory is that I might need someplace to stay and need to contact someone. I might need to contact my office. I will darn sure need to contact my insurance company, and I will need access to my bank which is in San Antonio.
- Banking app
- Insurance app
- Copies of important documents
- Driver’s licenses
- Banking info
- Insurance info
- Some family photos and videos (just because I can)
- Family Archive – In my case, the one thing I want out of my home that can’t be replaced are family photos, videos, personal writings and so forth. My long term project is to scan and back up all my irreplaceable memories on flash drives that I keep with me. This is ongoing and I expect to continue this project indefinitely.
I consider flash drives to be single use. I do download them to my computer, but when the drive becomes full, I simply remove it, put it in my archive, and insert a new one.
My archive is this (link to Amazon). Anyone who routinely uses removable media a/k/a flash drives will immediately recognize how AWESOME this little wallet is. It hold the two main types of removable media IN THE SAME SLOT! Most phones use the Micro SD card. Most cameras use the larger SD card which is really a Micro SD card in an adapter. With this wallet, I can put a regular size SD card on top of a Micro SD card. If you place all of your data on 64GB memory cards, the wallet will hold 1,536 GB of data. That’s the equivalent of almost 2,000 CD ROMs.
Additionally, I have an external back up hard drive. I keep that in my Bug Out Bag. It’s a little thicker than a cell phone and can still fit in my shirt pocket. I back up EVERYTHING to that occasionally (usually when I download pictures and videos from other devices).
I also have a Microsoft OneDrive account that automatically backs up my phone and some other things, but I don’t depend upon it. It’s handy, but I like tangible backup systems, too.
My long term prep will be to burn everything to DVDs as an archive, seal it and bury it in a place where it is unlikely to be destroyed (in the event of an EMP that wipes my other electronic data).
We’ve published a couple of family books using free software such as blurb and shutterfly. The advantage of that is having a paper copy, the pages are thinner than photograph paper, and they are cool to look at. I’m considering doing that as part of my family archive. For now, I consider myself doing well to have multiple backups of all my photos, videos and documents.
If you do these four things, you will be well prepared to survive virtually any sudden, unexpected environmental threat.
Congratulations! You have prepared to meet the needs of the first Rule of 3’s. Next we will move to the second Rule of 3’s – The 3 Hour Prep.