Introduction and Overview: Before I lace this Copyrighted material into my World of the Chernyi book set, I'm posting this series here to ask for feedback and suggestions to improve what is a more than a draft, but still not quite finished. I am seeking your suggestions (and brickbats) on this 12 part series. A DIY Disaster Kit Table of Contents 1 Water 2. Shelter and protection from environmental elements 3. Fire and light 4. Nutrition (food & cooking) 5. First aid and medical 6. Hygiene 7. Communication and signaling 8. Tools and repairs 9. Safety and defense 10. Travel and navigation 11. Morale and mental health 12. Important documents (passports, insurance, license, etc) Capstone Project - A way to carry all of your 'stuff' that is both inexpensive and low key. Foreword - I've written a series of post-apocalyptic books called the World of Chërnyi. In that series, the protagonists are faced with issues and solve them, not because they are super-human, but because they have some training and use their smarts. I mention a variety of items used by these characters, from a Svea or Trangia stove to tarp shelters. I've written this Appendix as a companion to the series for people who would like to be better prepared for a disaster - hopefully after reading the stories in these books. Despite what many see on the television or in catalogs, your needs to live in a post disaster environment are few and fairly simple. These needs can be covered for a lot less than the "Professional" pre-pack disaster kits sold on-line for hundreds of dollars. I'm not going to pretend this Appendix is the be-all, end-all for disaster kitting. The sheer diversity of climate types across the world's landscape makes a one-size-fits-all document impossible. This series simply looks to provide enough information, in one place, that will allow you to plan and assemble a short-term disaster kit, on the cheap, specific to where you live. The focus of this series is on a kit that can safely sit in a closet ready for use if needed. This is why I have focused on a low cost kit. You will need to pull the kit and swap out the food at least yearly, twice yearly would be better. I'll list a couple of options on that part as well. I've tried to write this series in simple, easy to understand English, using a Question and Answer format as part of the information. This layout should permit you to quickly find a topic. Once you find a topic, you then can read a question and answer section that should give you more detail. Photos and images are placed separately at the end, away from each chapter's text to make your reading a bit easier. The capstone project for this series is for you to assemble a solid kit with the things needed for you to live for three to four days, not just survive. Using items you likely have around the house already will save a lot, both money and time. There are a couple of items I will suggest for purchase, but in many cases, I'll also identify one or more nearly free alternatives. You can safely store this kit in your closet to grab& go when needed, just as you might a fire extinguisher. But like that fire extinguisher, practice makes it and you, more effective. Fire extinguishers should receive annual maintenance, so this kit should be pulled out and checked at least yearly. The food will most certainly need to be exchanged yearly. Once you have assembled your kit, you should then use your kit. Use it on a simple overnight campout or two so that you understand how to use the items in the kit before it becomes necessary. Even camping out in your back yard will give you much of that experience. Good luck! You've just taken the first step on the journey to be better prepared to deal with situations that may force you out of your primary residence. DKR/dkr Overview The daily news shows or tells of stories filled with disasters of all kinds: floods, wildfires, massive snowstorms. Sometimes even more frightening are the disasters made by man: train derailments, chemical spills, factory fires, riots and the like. These stories can be frightening, what if you lose power for days or even weeks? What if you have to flee your home? What will you do? Where will you go? Many people are so overwhelmed just with just the thought of planning for a disaster that they give up before starting. Don't give up just yet. As a Certified Disaster Recovery Planner, I've spent years advising major corporations on how to prepare for and recover from a disaster. I've also written more than a few Response, Recovery and Restoration Plan sets. In those same years, I've found that this aspect of life is something that most of us have either overlooked or frankly, ignored for our own home life. Being prepared need not be expensive or complicated. This Appendix was initially a series of twelve condensed guest posts for a fellow author's blog, each covering a specific area. All of that information and more, is in this document. These steps are relevant whether you are forced to leave your home or are able to stay in your home to shelter in place. Water. You need at least two liters per person per day, minimum, just to survive. If you are traveling or working, plan for a gallon per person, per day. This Chapter covers gathering, storage, purification and suggestions for transport of drinking water. I discuss the difference between water filters and purifiers, and why that matters. More than one type of filter is described. Shelter and protection. An inexpensive tarp and some cordage will go a long way to keep you out of the weather. I show you how to make the most of simple materials to provide shelter from the elements. Clothing is discussed as part of an overall 'shelter system'. Fire and light If outdoors, you may need a source of heat to avoid hypothermia, cook food and provide light to perform tasks after dark. I discuss a variety of inexpensive stoves, and show you how to make a pair of stoves that burn a common commercial product. I'll walk you through some choices in flashlights, lanterns, and candle lanterns. The last part of this chapter discuses the advantage and disadvantages of a campfire. Nutrition (food & cooking) This Chapter focuses on putting together your own meal, ready to eat (MRE). Using commonly available long shelf life commercial products, you can make your own tasty and easy to cook or heat to eat meals. I discuss several common problems with home-made MREs and tell you how to avoid the problems. Finally, since you should store what you eat - and eat what you store, I know you'll find eating these meals no problem. First aid and medical As a former licensed EMT and having worked in the Air Force as a military medic, the focus here is on the training you have. I outline a basic First Aid Kit (FAK) and why this is important. I describe an advanced FAK, one that is layered. I've made some lists to help you gather the supplies you might need or to buy that are appropriate and inexpensive. The types of injury you can treat with the FAK are discussed as are some issues related to Over the Counter medicines. While you can make a very nice FAK for less than a commercial offering, training is one area where you are advised to obtain a commercial offering. I list sources for hands-on training and give you sources on the 'Web for follow on and self-training. Hygiene and clothing More men were lost in the Civil War to poor sanitation than were ever killed in battle; this is true for the Boer war as well. I cover basic field sanitation, describe ways to wash your clothes in a disaster situation and list ways to bath while in less than ideal conditions. Being clean isn't about smelling bad, it is a health issue. Bears can poop in the woods, but you'll need a sanitary solution for your waste. I describe and illustrate methods for safe disposal of human waste. Communication and signaling Communication is more than a cell phone. In this Chapter, I cover communications planning, alternate means of communication. I'll cover commonly available communication equipment. Specifically, MURS, GRMS, CB, FRS and Ham radio are discussed at length. I even discuss crystal radios for fun and battery free listening. Tools and repairs In this Chapter, I discuss the common, lightweight tools you should have on hand for use in a disaster. The classic saw of "A stitch in time saves nine" is more correct than not. I describe a small but comprehensive sewing kit and a larger tool for use in repairing large tarps, backpacks and the like. Safety and defense This Chapter is a brief discussion of safety issues faced by those displaced in a disaster. I list ways to protect yourself and family members, your valuables and offer suggestions on ways to avoid problems before they impact you. A brief discussion covers the pros and cons of carrying a firearm. Since laws vary so wildly, I cannot offer specifics for your area. Travel and navigation If you can't tell the players without a program, you'll find travel far more difficult without a map. I'll discuss common map products, then provide a listing of where and how to obtain free or low cost map products for your use. I also cover compasses, and point you to free, on-line training sources for the use of your compass. While a GPS receiver is nice, it does have some real-world drawbacks, I discuss those drawbacks. Morale and mental health If you have children, you already know dealing with a bored child is almost as bad as dealing with a bored adult. I discuss some low cost and light weight items to carry that can make a difference in the inevitable down time faced when away from home and familiar surroundings. Important documents (passports, insurance, license, etc) It's a fact of life that we all have a paper trail following us through our life. If your home is damaged, or destroyed, having the right papers can make a major difference in how rapidly your life can be restored. I discuss the documents you should have with you, and what other measures you can take to safeguard important documents such as birth certificates, DD-214s from military service, marriage certificates, and insurance papers. The capstone project for the series is to build a take away 'bag' with the essentials for four days for one person using all of the information covered in the series. In this case, the bag will be a Yukon ruck, made from your tarp and holding the items you need should you leave your home. The capstone project assumes you have motorized transport. Remember - Being prepared doesn't mean you have to break the bank.