The Tough Keep Going: Tips for surviving everything

Editor’s note: Frequent readers of the Tradecraft series have indicated skills-based articles are helpful, but some would like to see more informal articles with a narrative about when certain skills might be necessary and how to employ them in different scenarios. Meet Adam Bellinger, the newest member of the Tradecraft team.


(TFC) – As North Korea’s nuclear and missile technology advances, Iran gets closer to having the bomb, and tensions in the Middle East escalate, more and more people are looking to prepare for a possible worst case scenario. This series will address some of the often overlooked methods that you can use to stay alive if the $#!% ever does hit the fan.

Today I am going to cover some tips that will help you in what I consider the most likely scenario the average American might face. Let me set the scene; It is a chilly morning in December, you just walked into the office after hours of fighting your way through traffic. Moments after you sit down at your desk, the lights go off. The smell of ozone begins to drift out of your computer as people begin to nervously point out that their cell phones won’t turn on. You are experiencing the effects of a nuclear EMP, it is the result of a high-yield nuclear bomb detonated far above the earth’s atmosphere. You and those around you don’t realize it yet, but the lights won’t be coming on again for years.

The very first thing you need to do is find a source of water. if you are in a high-rise the water in the tap will only flow for a few minutes as it drains down from the floors above. fill everything you can find that might hold water. Empty bottles, trash cans, trash bags, a vase, I mean literally anything. once everything is filled, start drinking as much water from the tap as you can stomach, have your coworkers do the same, they are probably looking at you like you are crazy, but the longer you keep them alive, the longer you have safety in numbers. keep in mind that any water that is in a water cooler or other dispensers of fresh clean water and shouldn’t be used until after the taps have been dried out. if you wrap a trash bag full of water in a sweater, yo can actually carry it around without tearing it. make sure the knot in the top of the bag makes a good seal but can be easily untied.

The next step you might consider is where you want to go right now, as well as for the duration of the upcoming apocalypse. Only you can know how much food storage, ammunition, and gear you have squirreled away at home. For that reason, I am going to go forward assuming that your stores are significant enough that you need to go home and collect them. For those of you with a family, the same would apply to you. If you are totally unprepared and have no family waiting at home, skip the next paragraph, ideas on where to go to escape the city will follow. Getting home may be deadly, the longer the lights stay out and the radio silent

Getting home may be deadly, the longer the lights stay out and the radio stays silent, people will grow exponentially more terrified. Terrified people in major cities become violent quickly. Think Superdome 2005 after hurricane Katrina. If you live close enough to walk home before dark, get hoofing. Try to stop at any shops that are still doing business as you go and buy prepackaged food that is high in calories. spend all the cash you have, if they are taking credit cards(remember those old-fashioned imprint machines) buy as much as you can tote. look especially closely for any survival supplies, flashlights, jerky, water purification, matches, good hiking boots, ammo, guns, knives, paper maps, but most of all; food! If you live too far away to walk, best you find that coworker with that sweet antique ride you envy. Pull them aside, explain what is happening, pointing out the fact that even wireless devices and the cars out on the street have stopped working should help sell the story. Offer some food storage or silver in trade for a ride home.

Now that you are home it’s a good idea to blockade yourself inside. Get all of your survival gear and pile it in the most interior room in your house, then get as much water from the tap as yo can. You will want as many walls between you and any stray bullets as possible, it’s not likely shooting will start the first night, but better safe than sorry. Take an inventory of what you have, try to figure out how long you can live off the calories you have on hand. If you don’t have 20,000 calories for each person on hand, you may be screwed. Use your paper maps and calorie inventory to figure out where you should go to survive the next few years. remember that walking more than thirty miles a day while pulling a cart full of supplies is almost impossible. Divide the number of calories on hand by the number of people in your family, then divide that by 1,500. That is how many days you can walk before you are in serious danger.  Make sure you get a good night sleep tonight, it will be your last for a while. When you wake up in the morning, hopefully before dawn, rethink your survival destination. you may not have been thinking clearly last night, you were under a lot of stress.

Take what skills you and those in your party have into consideration. if you are an avid and successful gardener, and you have seeds, you may want to consider heading for farmland. Farmers have thousands of acres that will be useless without their combine harvesters. If you are a fisherman, consider heading for the water, although this one is tricky, since coastlines are usually heavily populated and therefore may be deadly. You may find a local reservoir that is surrounded by woods on your map, as long as it is more than 200 miles away from a major city, it’s a good start. Maybe you have an old friend in the cattle business, he is probably in the market right now for security personnel, and will likely pay in beef!

Tune in next time and we will discuss locations for starting your new life without lights.