The recent raging wildfires in Colorado and Utah, combined with the not-too-long-ago flooding, earthquakes, nuclear disasters, etc, highlight one cold hard fact:
Disasters happen. Whether you are ready for them or not.
No one can predict when disaster will strike. One could happen in your city or town, maybe in your neighbourhood, or even on your very street.
Disasters happen without warning. And they have no regard for your life or the lives of those you love.
The flood doesn’t care if it washes away your home, leaving you with no shelter, no water, and no food.
The raging fire isn’t concerned about whether or not you can find a safe route for your family out of harm’s way.
That invading foreign army does not lose any sleep worrying about whether or not you have what you need to survive a disaster when you have to flee into the wilderness.
And that greedy Wall Street banker and his buddy the Corrupt Politician do not care whether or not you can feed your family after they help contribute to the collapse of the economy and social order.
The truth is, you cannot control when and how disaster strikes. Disaster can happen any time, in any place, and can take many forms – both natural and man-made. That’s the bad news.
But there is some good news too. You are not helpless. At least, you don’t have to be – if you learn how to survive a disaster BEFORE it happens.
How To Survive A Disaster – Preparing To Survive
In a disaster or emergency situation, most people are as helpless as babes lost in the woods (sometimes literally).
In fact, it’s been estimated that fewer than 9% of people are even remotely prepared to survive a disaster – even for just a week or two.
Very few people take the time (or go to the expense) to prepare for emergency situations – most people have no knowledge, no tools, and no plan for surviving a disaster.
And so, when disaster strikes, they are caught with their pants down, so to speak.
But the fact that you are reading this disaster survival guide tells me that you want to be among the 9% of people who are prepared to survive.
Or perhaps even among the much smaller group of people who will not only survive but will thrive – who will emerge as leaders, guiding others to safety, helping to restore (or recreate) social order.
But in order to survive a disaster, there are a few things that you need to do BEFORE the disaster strikes:
- You MUST thoroughly educate yourself on ALL survival-related topics. Not just one, or a few – ALL topics.
- You MUST have access to clean drinking water (or know how to create your own), and adequate shelter.
- You MUST be prepared with the necessary survival gear, tools, and equipment.
Because when disaster strikes, it’s not the “fittest” that survive – it is the “prepared” that will survive or even thrive.
How To Survive A Disaster – Develop and Expand Your Survival Knowledge Base
As you begin to prepare to learn how to survive a disaster, the first step is to educate yourself on exactly what you need to do, have, say, and even think, in order to keep yourself and your family alive.
Survive In Place – Urban Survival Course Review
A Survival Guide Is The Best Way To Learn How To Survive A Disaster
Many people think that you can simply grab a simple boy scout book and you will have all the knowledge that you need.
Others might grab a basic survival guide or two, skim through it once, and then let it gather cobwebs on the bookshelf.
True, this is better than nothing – but it is not nearly enough.
There are various stages or steps to surviving a disaster – preparing for just one will leave you exposed to all others. But the truth is, the steps that you need to take to survive are very similar regardless of the disaster IF you know and can apply some key basic survival skills.
For example, do you understand how to know when it’s best to hunker down vs. getting the hell out of dodge? Do you know how to safely and discretely navigate a dangerous and lawless urban landscape when anarchy reigns? Can you honestly say that you know how to make yourself, your supplies, and your homestead invisible to marauding bands of looters and bandits?
Most people can’t answer yes to even one of these questions. But these are just a few of many things that you must know in order to really understand how to survive a disaster.
The best way to create, develop, and expand your survival knowledge base is by listening to the experts. There are many great survival guides and books available on the market (and many that are not so great) – grab a few and go through them. And then grab some more.
Some survival guides are very broad, giving your bits and pieces of information across a variety of topics.
Others are more focused on specific survival topics – such as learning what to do in disaster’s immediate aftermath, how to “get out of dodge” when you have to leave but the roadways are impassable, or how to create clean drinking water when your sink runs dry.
And still, others are full-blown, college-level survival courses, laying out everything that you need to know about how to survive a disaster.
The truth is, your level of preparedness – and therefore ultimately your chances of survival – depend entirely on how much time, effort, and money you put into preparing. It’s as simple as that.
To get started, consider picking up a basic survival guide. We usually recommend 40 days and 40 nights – it’s a great survival course teaching you how to architect the ultimate preparedness plan. You can watch a free video on this topic here, or you can click here to read our 40 days and 40 nights survival course review.
Once you have developed a firm base of knowledge, you may be ready for a more advanced survival course, such as the Complete Survivalist – a virtual college-level survival education.
You can read our survival guide reviews here, or read about a few of the best survival books here.
The more survival knowledge you can master, the better you understand how to survive a disaster, the better your chances of survival are. It’s as simple as that.
How To Survive A Disaster – The 3 Basic Human Needs
Once you have increased your knowledge base and you know how to survive a disaster, it’s time to turn your attention to the three basic human needs: Shelter, Water, and Food.
These elements are listed in this order for a very specific reason. This is the order of importance to your very survival.
How To Survive A Disaster – The First Basic Human Need: Shelter
The first human need in surviving a disaster is shelter. When disaster strikes, you may not be lucky enough to still have access to your home – or for your house to even still be standing!
You MUST have a way to keep yourself and your family protected from the elements, especially in climates of extreme heat or cold. Lack of shelter is usually the fastest killer of the unprepared. In some places, death from exposure can occur in minutes.
Ideally, you will have access to a portable emergency shelter (click here to read our emergency tent review). But if that’s not the case, then hopefully you really paid attention to those survival guide recommendations we just mentioned, as they teach you how to construct an emergency survival shelter.
How To Survive A Disaster – The Second Basic Human Need: Water
Once you have found shelter, the next basic human need that must be addressed is clean water.
Most of us are so used to turning on the faucet and having clean water spill into our sink that we completely take it for granted, without pausing to think about where all of that water comes from, or what we would do if the sink ran dry.
The fact is that the human body can go about 72 hours without water. After that, you die.
There are a few things that you must do to prepare to survive a disaster when it comes to drinking water.
- Prepare emergency water storage in your home. You may have seen the big blue barrels of water that the prepared keep in their basements or garages – or perhaps you are already using these. These blue water storage barrels are an efficient and easy way to store emergency water. (click here to see what they look like)
- Have and know how to use emergency water filters. Let’s face it, no matter how much water you have stored, eventually, it is going to run out, and you are going to have to be able to make your own clean water. Also, it’s pretty hard to carry a 55-gallon barrel of water on your back if you have to “bug-out”. Make sure you have a good water filter in your emergency preparedness kit – because chances are you are going to need it! (click here to see what we consider to be among the best portable water filters)
170 Gallons A Day
- Having a good portable water filter is nice and all when the wells run dry, but it is really only useful for 1 or 2 people – and even then it will not last forever. But what if you don’t have a filter? Or what if you need more drinking water than one or two filters can make? If you are going to survive a disaster, then you MUST know how to create large volumes of pure water – especially if you find yourself emerging as the leader of a group of people. When disaster strikes, it is too late to arm yourself with this knowledge – you MUST already have it. (click here for more details on 170 Gallons of Water)
If you don’t have access to clean water, and you don’t know how to create your own, then you won’t survive for long.
How To Survive A Disaster – The Third Basic Human Need: Food
Now that we have addressed the first two basic human survival needs – shelter and water – we can shift our focus to the third: food.
While food is usually the first thing that people think of when considering how to survive a disaster, it’s actually the least important of the three basic survival needs.
The human body can go 2 weeks or even longer without food. Granted, it is still very important, but you do have some leeway.
The first thing to do as you prepare to survive a disaster is to be sure that you have enough emergency food storage. You should have enough for at least a 3-month supply for every person in your family (and ideally a 12-month supply). (click here for our emergency food storage checklist)
Of course, you can’t always take large quantities of food with you when you have to bug out, so you should have at least 3 days of light-weight emergency food rations in your “bug out bag” to accommodate.
And finally, you will learn about how to find (as in gather, hunt, or trap) food in a long-term survival situation in many of the urban survival guides that we recommend.
These three basic human needs must be met if you and your family are going to survive a disaster. Ignore any one of the three, and you are asking to be pushing daisies really soon.
How To Survive A Disaster – Survival Gear and Tools
Once you know how to survive a disaster, and you’ve addressed the three basic elements of survival, you can begin establishing a complete survival gear stockpile.
There are many tools that will come in handy in an emergency – and truthfully, it is the survival gear and tools that can set apart those who merely survive a disaster and those who thrive.
A few of the most important survival gear and tools are:
Hawke’s Hellion 2020 Survival Knife – Best Survival Knife
- Survival Knife – A good survival knife is really a tool with unlimited uses – it’s more than just a knife. You will use it constantly, so it’s important to get one that is high quality and is highly durable. Click here to read our survival knife review, or click here for our best survival knife top 10 lists.
- BackPack – If you have to head for the hills, you’ll need something to carry your gear around in. This pack will get plenty of use and abuse, so be careful which one you pick.
- Survival Hatchet – Another high utility tool that will see plenty of use. Whether hacking off tree branches or hacking off arms, a quality hatchet is among the most important survival gear you can have.
These are just a few examples of survival gear and tools that you should have in your stockpile. For more examples, read our recent article about the best survival gear. And also check out our best survival gear and tools checklist.
How To Survive A Disaster – Final Thoughts
You are likely to find yourself facing a major disaster or emergency at some point in your life – whether you are ready or not.
It might be a small-scale disaster, or it could impact a large area – a whole state, or a country, or even the entire world.
Most people are ill-equipped to survive a disaster. In fact, very few people even have a clue how.
The problem is that 91% of people who are unprepared will be part of the problem for the 9% who are.
But 9% will have the best chance because it is they who will know how to survive a disaster.
But keep in mind, when disaster strikes, it is too late to arm yourself with this knowledge – you MUST have it first…so start NOW!
Just reading this disaster survival guide is your very first step. The second step is to watch this video. And the third is to go back through this article and click every single link and learn about what is on the other side.
As I’ve said before – when disaster strikes, it is not survival of the “fittest”, it is survival of the “prepared”.
Sincerely and hopelessly devoted to keeping you from pushing up daisies,
Jack Keaton – Apocalypse Survival Guide