Key Disaster Survival Elements
Key Elements of Survival--Food and Water
To add to these startling disaster factoid statistics on the previous page, grocery stores in the U.S. typically have only
3 days of food
available at any point in time. (Food stores in less advanced economies have even less available food).
So, by the time these minimally prepared families with only 3 days of food and water run out of supplies,
so will their food stores! What then? These families will be no better off than the rest of the population!
It appears, that the concept of "just-in-time" inventory management that is popular today to save storage and
inventory costs will ultimately compromise any community involved in a disaster situation. The concept is a
two-edged sword! And finally, consider that nearly half of the food in grocery stores is highly dependent on
refrigeration! If a disaster disrupts the electricity for more than a few days, meat and frozen foods will be lost,
further reducing community supplies.
Just think--if the Red Cross survey mentioned above included the Mormons, Amish, and Mennonites, then the bulk
of the 7% considered prepared with at least a 3 day supply of provisions would represent an even larger percentage
of Americans not prepared! It would probably be more like 98% that would be found lacking
The Amish, in particular, are probably the most self-sufficient of any class of Americans. Their culture and religion
forbids them from utilizing modern day
inventions and energy sources. The grow food the old fashioned way--they use plows and horses. They store up their food
for future consumption and sell the surplus to the public. Their food is organic and far healthier than the general
population. A lot of Mormon families have farms and ranches but do rely on modern conveniences and energy sources.
Plus, they do have a religious mandate from their church to stock for one year of food and water.
Then there is the issue of a much more critical resource--quality drinking water. Potable water, even in the most
advanced nations, is becoming a major problem. Some experts predict that wars will be fought of water in the not too
distant future. Availability and access affect more than half of the world's population by land mass and those
available sources in large metropolitan areas have many infrastructure inter-dependencies.
A failure in any type of water system for a community would create an intense and life-threatening situation overnight.
Water is essential for life in any community and in third world countries it becomes enormously problematic. A recent
report discusses the falling water tables in the aquifers of many areas of the central U.S. farmlands like Kansas and
across the Midwest. Without this ground water to irrigate crops, food production will become greatly constrained.
What's your situation with regard to food and water?
Survival Windows and Strategies for Dealing with Food and Water Deprivation
Keep in mind, that the average person can live without food for up to 8 weeks maximum IF they are:
- Reasonably inactive during this period
- Are in fairly good physical condition
- Have plenty of water to drink
- Have some fat stores within their body to rely upon
- Have ideal environmental conditions-not too hot or too cold
- Have no traumatic conditions to deal with.
Exceptions do exist in history. It's been recorded that Jesus Christ and Moses accomplished 40 day food fasts.
Gandhi went 21 days without food. One Irish IRA prisoner lived for 71 days before he died of starvation
from his self-imposed, protest hunger fast. But, in all of these cases, physical activity was VERY limited
which would not be the case in most survival scenarios.
However, water deprivation is another story. Again, under ideal conditions of moderate environmental temperature
and a person that is in reasonable physical shape with minimum activity, could expect to live 3-5 days without water or water
based liquids. Some people in excellent shape could manage to stay alive another 1-2 days longer but that's about
it according to forensic doctors. Again, within 2-3 days most every person suffering such dehydration would not
be capable of managing survival conditions. (Many people on their deathbed or in a comatose state can live up to
3 weeks without food or water once these life supports are removed but this is a one way street.)
Having ample food and water buys you some time to work on longer term survival strategies to enhance you and your
family's longevity and hopes. There are many more things to plan and acquire but are contingent on the nature of
each type of disaster that you might face where you live.
Our desire is to work with you and your family on the thought and planning processes to give you the best survival
chances in each of our identified disaster scenarios.
Honestly, Please Examine Your Beliefs and Attitudes about Potential Disasters
What's your perspective regarding local disasters, severe emergencies, or home threats? Have you thought about them
or had a family head conversation?
- Do you live in an area where you could be affected by one or several of the disasters discussed on this site?
- Do you feel that you can envision a need to prepare to some degree to protect yourself and/or your family?
- Are you even prepared to handle something as simple as a home fire or maybe a criminal invasion of your home?
Most people are practical enough to see the need to be prepared for possible bad situations that could occur where
they live. The question is-how many will actually do something about it? Thinking about it is one thing but actual
taking action is quite another. How many will actually put their minds to-
- Thinking through feasible worst case scenarios
- Develop a plan to mitigate the envisioned scenarios
- Acquire the information, assets, and training to be successful at surviving a given ordeal?
If you are an average person, we are sure you can mentally envision the need to be prepared for certain, possible events.
But, for a multiplicity of reasons, quite a number will put it off doing anything because they get caught up in the
day-to-day things and "action" gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list and soon forgotten.
Then a disaster strikes, panic sets in, and survival odds become extremely challenging. If you're prone to this kind
of mentality, please, before you leave this site, read the pages that discuss Pareto's Law, Situational Awareness,
Normalcy Bias, and Black Swan Events---
Disaster Planning and Preparation Mindset.
We are certain that this information will change your attitude and your preconceived notions about disasters and emergencies.
Identify Your Life's Fundamental Desires and Needs
We think most people love life and have something to live for! At least we hope that's your mindset. And, now that
we have made you aware of the importance of being prepared for various disasters, don't you feel a powerful desire
to do everything reasonable to protect the well being of your family members while you have the time and resources
Will Your Core Feelings and Emotions Motivate You To Action?
Just imagine your children crying themselves to sleep each night because of hunger or suffering from trauma resulting
from the violence of a disaster that you didn't prepare them for. It is hard to face life after losing a loved one
to powerful forces that come into play during a disaster when there was something you could have done to prevent it.
Just envision losing a family loved one by their-
- Drowning in a flood or mudslide
- Being consumed by a home fire or asphyxiation by smoke
- Dying from a pandemic disease
- Getting crushed under a mass of concrete from an earthquake.
Granted, very horrible thoughts and horrendous visions! But, they do happen every day somewhere on this blue-green
planet of ours. These are the types of thoughts that motivate us and I'm sure thoughts like these will motivate you!
Please, don't let any of these things happen to you and your loved ones if you can prevent it. Please take some
concrete steps now to protect you and your family.
Noah Didn't Build His Ark of Survival While It Was Raining--So Why
Should You Put Off Disaster Preparations?
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
United States Department of Homeland Security
Virginia Department of Forestry
Haines Index to Hotspot
National Weather Service
National Earthquake Information Center
Weather Wiz Kids
American Red Cross
Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration