I've been thinking there are lots of little things that can increase your chances of surviving. Lets try to keep the items small, and affordable, so if you have a few hours free you can work on this list.
Here's my contribution:
Test your smoke alarms
Replace any smoke alarms in your house over 10 years old
Paint/repaint your address numbers on your curb to aid police/fire dept finding your home
Increase visibility of house numbers (trim trees, add landscaping spotlight etc)
Fill your car or truck up with gas
Rotate stored water
Learn how to send/receive text messages on your cell phone
Put a padlock on the gate that leads to your back yard
Buy/setup a NOAA emergency radio
Engrave your drivers lic number and state on anything you own worth over $100
Get a copy of you pets vaccine records and put it in your BOB
Printout a copy of your neighborhood from Google maps
Install a Grade 1 deadbolt on your front door
Install a large security strike plate on your front door. Use 3 inch screws
Replace the screws in your door hinges with 3 inch screws
Show your spouse how to turn off the gas
Show your spouse how to turn of the home electric
Show your spouse how to turn of the home water
Put an escape ladder in any upstairs bedroom
Please continue this list...
Carbon Monoxide detectors.
My own list:
Motion sensors where they will detect anyone approaching the house.
Fix-a-flat and tire plugs, plus a GOOD inflator, in your vehicle.
Also, a QUALITY frame jack.
There are scads of survival-related publications available on the internet for free download - My nomination would be Where There Is No Doctor
I would be cautious about using any maps from google or microsoft or terraserver or anything like that. most of those maps could be years old. you might think you are headed for some woods and end up in a section 8 housing addition!
get a HAM license.
learn morse code.
learn what you can eat from mother nature.
seems like anything you can learn about would be a good addition, basically free, and damn hard to take away from you.
inventory your supplies: break the list down into food/water, fuel, defense, medical, communications, survival library, savings in the bank/and of coin precious metals etc. in "your" possetion etc. etc. so that it is more organised and and easier to keep track of...
everyweek spend even $5 in one, or as many as you can afford of the above catagories...
cut and practice affixing plywood, etc. boards for security/safety over your windows...
if your firearms lend themselves to not having dryfire problems, practice your triggerpull(make sure to follow proper firearms safety)...
practice shouldering your weapon as though to snap off a shot, i used to watch movies, and everytime a differnt character appeard on the screen i'd bring the gun to bare and squeze the trigger on target as with the above exercise this can help commit the actions to muscle memory(make sure to follow proper firearms safety)...
target practice, even if it's 20rnds of .22 or even an air/pellet rifle...
dig a root cellar...
plant cactai (cactus) infront of windows as a hinderence to breakins...
get to know your neightbors better, ask about possible threats too, or incidents of breach of peace/security in the neighborhood...
if possible start/ join a neighborhood watch...
go camping and practice wilderness woods craft...
rough-it in your house for the weekend, no refrigerated food, no electricity, no running water, taking only very limited if any trips other than walking, get a feel for a time where you may not have modern convientces...
draw range cards for your AO...
mow your neighbors grass, shovel an elderllies snow, give to your neighborhood, and you may just find your good deeds may one day be returned, even if they aren't folk won't be so worried about the crazy militant black rifle owning survivalist type freak possible terrorist, if he's help with their chores or is well thought of in the neighborhood...
try to get others interested inprepping, if you becoem a bit of a mentor it'll do your heart wonders when you start to see the fruits of your labrs begin to bloom and see your pupils picking up knowledge...
clean your guns...
talk to any elderly you may know about times during the depression...
plant fruit trees or plant a garden, even if it's just a couple planter pots, you will gain knowledge and expierence and maybe some cheap/free produce...
read everything you can, knowledge is power...
learn to can food...
learn how to make a still, and distill alcohol, it's legal in some areas(up to 10 gal a year for personal use in Va.)could be used as a product to sell(it'd probabally be illegal to do so now though), for barter or trade, in cleaning, in medicine, as fuel, etc...
learn how to: make maple syrup, pine needle tea, safaras tea, hardtack, jerky, pimmican, homemade soap, how to dip candles, tan hides, smoke meat, etc. etc. etc...
rasie a couple rabbits, chickens, pigmy goats, bass, trout, etc.. for food, or to sell...
make copies of all important documents, seal in a pvc tube, glue on both ends, put a hacksaw blade covered in oil in a ziplockbaggy ducttaped to the tube, and tie/chain it to a treeroot etc.(if in or near what could become a flood plain) and burry, suspend in tree etc. in backyard or other safe place incase of fire/robbery/flood/etc....
in a similar manner as above cache some money(preferabally not paper), food, ammunition, medical supplies, extra anything you think you may really need...
mark all caches on gps waypoints and on a map, inform spouse of location of map incase you buy the farm...
get your BOV a tune up/oilchange...
teach your spouse, kids, anyone you trust, all the fieldcraft, safety, firstaid, etc. etc. immportant skills, that you can...
learn how to pickle foods...
learn how to make beer/wine/vinegar...
practice shooting or firing: bow and arrow/slingshot/sling/blowgun...
take up a marshal artform...
cut extra firewood...
help out a local farmer, a couple days of hardwork is often rewarded by all kinds of foods/favors through-out the seasons, a neighbor such as a farmer could become a great ally come S.H.T.F....
Pull your head out of your ass.
Seriously. Many people go about their lives oblivious to the world. Being aware of your surroundings can be the difference between life and death.
Doesn't have to take alot of work.
Just quiz yourself from time to time. Where's the nearest exit? what time of day is it? What's the quickest way out of here if something happens? What if?
Always have a plan.
solar powered battery chargers
trauma bag/ jump kit (first aid kit)
Go drive around your area and find good spots incase you need to "hide".
Take roads you've been down before and see where they go.
Learn to fish
Learn to purify water
Learn to milk a cow
Learn to field dress said cow (and other animals)
Learn to swim
Get in shape (never know when you'll have to walk with your pack)
Inventory what you have
Try to keep your equipment in top running order - e.g. oil changes, tire pressures, fluid levels, etc.
Rotate stock that you may have accumulated. Try to use up some of the stuff that is nearing expiration and replace.
If you wait till you need it, it's too late.
I'll echo the "Get in shape" comments.
It only costs time and will probably have the best return on your investments.
Practice preparing survival food. Once a week make a dish with the kind of stuff you have stockpiled. Like fried rice with canned chicken, canned peas and powdered eggs.
Learn to cook over an open fire. It's not as easy as it looks on TV.
Keep a pair of broken-in shoes and some spare socks, underwear, talcum powder, and deoderant in your car.
Stash some Pepto-Bismol, Immodium AD, ibuprophin, and allergy medicine (Benadryl?) where you work, in your car, and at home.
See how many different ways there are to get home from work, even if some take longer. You will start to notice where the really bad neighborhoods (that would be war zones if the police were busy elsewhere) are. Try to notice where the gas stations are also.
Figure out where the 24 hour auto parts stores are in case you need to get out at odd hours and need a battery or something.
5 gallon water jugs like the ones you have in the office!
I rent a rack of them (holds 60) and the rack is free if I buy 10 per month.
- Live simply and not beyond your means.
- Track your finances as close to the penny as you can. Learn where you're bleeding without even knowing it (can you refinance, transfer balances, etc?). Learn where you could be earning more by just leaving it there.
- Again - get/stay in shape.
- Get regular checkups and take advantage of modern medical care while it's an option.
- Chill out. Stress adds to the wear and tear and if it isn't bad enough to put in you jail, the hospital or the morgue, it probably isn't worth getting your knickers in a twist over.
- Periodically - no longer than once a year at the absolute worst - reassess everything. Your household budget, your daily habits, your travel routes. Interest rates change, things that were smart to do a year ago might have diminishing returns now, roads you "always used to take" might be closed or damaged.
- Use your gear. Make sure it works, that you know how to use it and that it does the job you think it does.
- Appreciate what you have.
- Plan for the worst.
- Minimize risks.
- Pay attention.
- Try not to be stupid. Can't always avoid it if you're human - but try. Hard.
One from a friend -- keep one of those expanding baby fences that fit in doorways around to pen up a bunch of the little monkeys if you wind up with company that you weren't expecting with children or puppies.
+1! I started to post this same response this morning. It's something that I think a large majority of the population could benefit from. "Situational Awareness"-making yourself take notice of things around you.
Thats true for USGS maps aswell. Some maps are 50+ years old.
learn to make fire without matches , lighter , gas , etc.
carry a good pocket knife and or a multi tool . great habit to get into.
Make it a habit to carry a "bic" lighter everywhere you go so you always have a source of fire/light/heat.
+2 I have made this a game with the kids. When we go out (to the movies for example) I'll ask the kids where is the fire exit, where did we park the car, where is our rally point inside/outside the theatre, etc.
Here's a real cheap idea.
Get to know your neighbors by their first names.
Know who will help out in an emergency,and know
who you should teach the dogs to dislike .
I would pull my head out of my ass, but its so cold outside! It does make typing pretty difficult though.
Inventory with expiration dates for everything and dates to replace them.
It was 94 today without the heat index, when the hell did Ohio become the antarctic?
Good list. Don't forget to continue to get pointers from the arfcom survival forum.
If the "incident" is localized; city, county, state, etc. ... have a common contact person for everyone you're responsible for to call. My wife & I both report to work during hurricanes, so, if we can't reach each other by phone, we call my sis who lives in Boston. No worries then. Back to work.
Topo maps of your county.
Familiarity with formally-planned evacuation routes for inland-flooding, tsunami, hurricanes, volcanoes, etc.
Emergency numbers, not just 911... Numbers to poison control, sheriff's dept, fire dept, etc.
Notarized copies of basic documents in a waterproof bag, in a (preferably hand-carried) fire-retardant/proof receptacle.
Copies of keys to everything.
Flash drive with photos of insured items.
Good relationship with your neighbors.
Basic first aid skills.
Go to the dentist
Go get a physical w/blood test