Survival Simplified
You have been watching the news and seeing all of the civil unrest and natural disasters happening around the world, and this has made you start to think about being prepared for something that might happen in your neck of the woods. As you gather information, you come across terms like emergency food storage, bug out bag, and evacuation plan, and you feel like you are learning a new language. To help you interpret the true meaning of all these words we have put together a glossary of commonly used terms that should help provide a better understand of emergency preparedness.
Emergency food storage: Non-perishable food, often freeze dried food storage that can safely be stored long term (5 years or more)
Freeze dried food storage: Food that has been dehydrated, frozen and then had surrounding pressure reduced so that the moisture dissipates in gas form, increasing the shelf life of the product. Preparation is easy, often just by adding hot water
Water rations: A minimum of two liters of water per person per day, stored in both rigid containers and collapsible containers. Include at least two methods of water purification in your supplies
Evacuation plan: Communicating with your family how to leave in the event of an emergency, what to take, and where to meet
Emergency signal: Lights, whistles, mirrors, or flares are all methods used in emergency situations to signal rescuers of your whereabouts
Bug Out Bag: A pack that contains all the essential items to survive for the first 72 hours after a necessary evacuation.
Emergency lighting: Flashlights, headlamps or lanterns that use little or no battery power.
First Aid Kit: A comprehensive kit containing items to address trauma and any personal medical needs of your immediate family (prescriptions, etc.)

Once you have educated yourself on disaster preparedness and collected your supplies, remember to maintain your readiness by changing out your clothing to match the season, refreshing your water storage, and checking your emergency food storage for quality and safety. By understanding the preparedness language and gathering the proper supplies, you will be ready to evacuate quickly should the need arise.

The suggested contents of a bug-out bag vary, but most of the following are usually included:

  • Enough food and water to last for 72 hours. This includes:
    • Water for washing, drinking and cooking. Canada recommends 2 litres per person per day for drinking plus an additional 2 litres per person per day for cleaning and hygiene.  New Zealand recommends 3 litres per person per day for drinking.  US recommends 1 gallon (3.78 litres) per person per day.
    • Non-perishable food
    • Water purification supplies
    • Cooking supplies
  • A first aid kit
  • Fire starting tool (e.g., matches, ferrocerium rod, lighter, etc.)
  • A disaster plan including location of emergency centers, rallying points, possible evacuation routes, etc.
  • Professional emergency literature explaining what to do in various types of disaster, studied and understood before the actual disaster but kept for reference
  • Maps and travel information
  • Standard camping equipment, including sanitation supplies
  • Weather appropriate clothing (e.g., poncho, headwear, gloves, etc.)
  • Bedding items such as sleeping bags and blankets
  • Enough medicine to last an extended evacuation period
  • Medical records
  • Pet, child, and elderly care needs
  • Battery or crank-operated radio
  • Lighting (battery or crank operated flashlight, glow sticks)
  • Cash and change, as electronic banking transactions may not be available during the initial period following an emergency or evacuation
  • Positive identification, such as drivers license, state I.D. card, or social security card
  • Birth certificate and/or passport
  • Fixed-blade and folding knife
  • Duct tape and rope/paracord
  • Plastic tarps for shelter and water collection
  • Wire for binding and animal traps
  • Compass

Some users include the following. These items are not appropriate or legal in some areas.

  • Slingshot, pellet gun, blowgun or other small game hunting equipment
  • Firearms and appropriate ammunition