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The essential "72-Hour Grab-and-Run Survival Kit"

These short-term emergency kits, also known as “grab-and-run kits,” should be readily accessible and cover the basic daily needs of your family for a period of at least three days. Please note that three days is a minimal time period (in Kobe Japan, it was nine days before many survivors received food and water) and that you should have at least one or two weeks’ supply of food stored in or around your home. You may purchase ready-made 72-hour kits from various survival supply outlets, or you can put together your own. Large families should probably divide up the stores between several easily grabbed small backpacks or plastic containers. One advantage to building your own kits is that you get to choose foods that you like. Remember that all foods have some kind of shelf life. Rotate stores and use them or lose them! Bug infested, rancid, or rotten food doesn’t do anyone any good. (NOTE: Each chapter in my book contains a resource guide to help readers locate suppliers to purchase the materials covered by that chapter, such as the special supplies in the Grab-And-Run Kits).

If you live in or near a city which you feel might be a terrorist target, I would keep smaller Grab-And-Run kits in each car, plus a more fully stocked version at home that is readily throw into a car at the last minute. In the event that automobile travel is not an option, and you need to escape a disaster area by foot, I like to keep a large internal frame mountaineering type backpack on hand that is big enough to hold my complete Grab-And-Run kit plus extra camping materials and food supplies. Other goods may be stored in plastic containers that are easily loaded into an automobile.

Consider placing all of the following items in your 72-hour survival kit:
  • Portable radio, preferably one that works with dead batteries, or no batteries at all, such as one with a hand generator crank or solar cells (available through survival and surplus outlets).
  • First aid kit with first aid and survival handbooks (my book covers both). I suggest a small compact first aid kit for mini Grab-And run kits and a more comprehensive first aid kit (see my book, or my web site article, First Aid Kits) for your plastic tub containing optional materials that you can toss into your car.
  • Water, water purification chemicals, and/or purifying filter. Enough to provide one gallon per person per day (seeChapter 5: Water, for more information on filters and purification, or my web site article, Disinfecting Your Water). Retort (foil) pouches can handle freezing in a car trunk, but most other water containers can’t handle freezing without the potential for bursting. Three gallons per person is heavy (24 lbs), so I strongly suggest that you include a water filter and water treatment chemicals. I suggest pump type back country filters, such as those made by Katadyn or MSR, that are rated to filter out all bacteria and have a carbon core to remove toxic chemicals, bad tastes and odors. Boiling kills all bacteria and viruses but is not always an option and does nothing to remove toxic chemicals, bad tastes and odors. Also, supplement your filter(s) with purifying iodine crystals (or other chemicals), such as a “Polar Pure” water purification kit, to kill all viruses that may not be removed by filters. Pump filters that are rated for virus removal have tiny pore sizes and tend to clog quickly (a clogged filter is worthless).
  • Waterproof and windproof matches in a waterproof container, and a utility-type butane (large, with extended tip) lighter. 
  • I also like to include a compact magnesium rod type fire starter, which is water proof and will light hundreds of fires with just a knife to scrape against the magnesium bar and its flint sparker.
  • Wool or pile blankets (avoid cotton) because they are warm when wet, or a sleeping bag. A heat-reflective, waterproof “space blanket” is a good emergency type item in a compact kit. Fiber-pile, mountaineering-quality sleeping bags are great, if you have the room for it (no down sleeping bags, because they are worthless if wet).
  • Flashlight with spare batteries, or solar recharge flashlight. I highly recommend that you purchase a headlamp with LED bulbs. Headlamps leave your hands free to carry things or fix things. LED bulbs use a fraction of the power, are far more shock resistant, and last far longer than traditional light bulbs so your batteries last many times longer.
  • Candles (useful for lighting fires with damp wood) and a couple light sticks (emergency light when nothing else works or explosive gases are present).
  • Toiletries, including toilet paper (store in water proof zip lock bag), toothbrush, soap, razor, shampoo, sanitary napkins (also good for severe bleeding wounds), several packs of dental floss (for tying things), sun screen, extra eyeglasses, diapers, and so on.
  • Food for three days per person, minimum. Use foods you will eat, and that store well, such as nuts, sport bars, canned vegetables, fruits, meats, dry cereals, and military type preserved meals (available at surplus and survival stores). Freeze dried back packing foods are lightest, but only work if you have a stove for hot water.
  • A Swiss army knife, or a stainless steel multi-tool knife (Leatherman), with scissors, can opener, blades, and screwdrivers.
  • Map, compass, and whistle. When you are in a weakened state, or have a parched throat, a whistle may draw someone’s attention and save your life. In smoke or fog, a compass may be the only thing pointing you in the right direction. I like to keep my compass on a string so I can hang it around my neck for easy reference in confusing situations (darkness, fog, smoke, etc.)
  • Sewing kit with extra–heavy-duty thread and at least two extra heavy duty needles. Should be strong enough to stitch a torn strap onto your backpack. A “Speedy Stitching Awl” works great for heavy duty repairs.
  • Towel or dishcloth.
  • Knives, forks, spoons, and so on. A camping “mess kit” is a compact set of utensils.
  • Tent and/or roll of plastic sheeting for shelter.
  • Extra clothing, such as long underwear, hat, jacket, waterproof mittens, leather work gloves, rain coat or poncho, sturdy boots, and so on. Remember, cotton is almost worthless when wet, but wool and specialty outdoor clothing (usually polyester) wicks moisture and is warm when wet.
  • Entertainment for kids and other special needs (prescription medicines, diapers, extra glasses, etc.).
  • 50 feet of heavy duty nylon string or light rope.
  • Record of bank numbers and important telephone numbers.
  • Spare checks and cash. Many Katrina victims were caught without any cash. TIP: Use a bank that has widespread branch locations so their records won’t disappear in a severe local disaster, leaving you with no bank account access.
Optional Items
I suggest you keep the following items in one handy location so you can add them to your “Grab-And-Run” kit if you have the time, space, and need in your particular situation:
  • Compact camping stove for boiling water and cooking food. I personally like the back country multi-fuel stoves by MSR. Remember to store a spare fuel bottle too!
  • Back country camping gear, like a large internal frame pack, foam sleeping pad (Thermarest, Ensolite, etc.), a large low cost tent (comfortable, but won’t stand up to heavy wind and snow), a smaller more expensive 3 or 4 season back country or expedition style tent that can stand up to high winds and/or snow (in case you will be without shelter for some time, or need to carry all supplies on your back).
  • A large capacity water filter, that is gravity or siphon fed, like the ones from MSR or Berkefeld, will process many more gallons of water with far greater ease than the smaller pump type back country filters. A high capacity filter is great to have on hand if you have the room for it, or the capacity need (water for several people or more).
  • A more comprehensive first aid kit than you would normally carry on your back into the backcountry.
  • In major metro areas where terrorism is a concern, or rural areas where wildfires are a concern, I suggest you include a painter’s respirator with activated carbon filter canisters, or a gas mask, for filtering out smoke and/or noxious fumes. Painter’s respirators are not very expensive and can be found at any large hardware store or builder’s supply house (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.). Gas masks can be found at army surplus or survival outlets.
  • 25 kitchen-size garbage bags and sewage treatment chemicals (powdered type preferred) for garbage and toilet sewage. A few large hefty bags can double for raincoats, ground cloths, and shelter. I usually skip the sewage treatment chemicals (lime, etc.), but if you live in an urban area with major earthquake or terrorist potential, it is probably a good idea to have some lime on hand to cut the smell of human waste.
If you are not a seasoned outdoors type person, I suggest that you begin to practice outdoor skills with a little car camping and follow that with some easy back packing. There is nothing like carrying all your gear on your back for a few days in the woods to teach you what really counts and what you can easily do without. The skills you learn in the back country will make surviving a disaster much easier, and more comfortable, and may help save the lives of your friends and family. Your local back country specialty store can provide you with all the gear you need, plus books and basic instructions to get you started. Additionally, you can attend one of many different backcountry schools to learn these skills in a safe well supervised environment (NOLS, Outward Bound, etc.)

Matthew Stein, P.E., Author of When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance and Planetary Survival, ISBN #978-1933392837, published by Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT (800) 639-4099

How to orientate without a Compass or GPS

We live in an age of lasers in the jungle and all manner of GPS gadgets to orientate us wherever we may be on planet earth. Even with an i-pod one can determine location through the Internet maps facility. All these high-tech gadgets are all very well, however its unlikely that we will have them handy when we most need it in the jungle, desert or somewhere exposed to the elements far from civilization. Besides there is not likely to be an Internet connection or somewhere to charge batteries handy and who travels with a Compass these days? Such modern gadgets has made us reliant on technology and taken away our capacity to read navigation through good old fashioned environmentally connected methods, which can always be utilized when all else fails or as a back up to confirm the correct reading of a Compass or GPS unit.
So if you are ever stuck without a Compass or GPS unit try the following…


Locate the North Star, Polaris!
The North Star is the last star in the handle known as the “Little Dipper”. Walking toward it means you are walking due north. You can use the Big Dipper to find the North Star. A straight, imaginary line drawn between the two stars at the end of the Big Dipper's bowl will point to the North Star. The distance to the North Star is about five (5) times the distance between the two (2) "pointer" stars.

Find the Southern Cross!
The Southern Cross is a group of four bright stars in the shape of a cross and tilted to one side. Imagine the long axis extends in a line five times its actual length. The point where this line ends is south. If you can view the horizon, draw an imaginary line straight down to create a southern landmark.

Locate moss!
Moss grows in places with lots of shade and water; essentially areas that are cool and moist. On tree trunks, the north sides tend to be more shady and moist than the south side; therefore, moss usually grows on the north side of trees, which can provide one with indicative directional sense. However, this method is nut infallible as in many forests, both sides of a tree can be shack and moist.

How to survive Internet Addiction Disorder


The ''internet addiction'' is a relatively new form of addiction that was first defined by Goldberg (1995) and became a really popular terminology by the end of 1996. 

The American Psychiatricd Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines internet addiction as a ''psychological disorder''. 

Dr. Jerald Block, notes 4 common characteristics of this internet addiction disorder (IAD)
  • The excessive use:  Usually is accompanied by impaired sense of the passage of time and/or neglecting basic physical needs.  
  • The withdrawal: When an individual is prevented from going online and most of the time its accompanied by anger, tension and/or depression.
  • The Tolerance: Longer use of the internet or a perceived need for upgrades or new software.  
  • Negative repercussions to someone’s behavior: This might include arguments, anger, fatigue, problems at work or school, lack of achievement and social isolation.  
According to the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, ''teenagers are more vulnerable to become addicted to the internet and can happen to anyone who uses the internet more time that he can handle''.

Dr Hao describes internet addiction to be similar to drug addiction. More specifically, he notes ''addicted teens seem to have nerve fiber connection problems and this affects their ability to control their emotions, their selves and their decision making process.''

How do people become addicted to the Internet.
There is large number of people who use the internet in order to manage unpleasant feelings, get rid of stress, loneliness, depression and anxiety. Many people after a bad day at work or school get back home and want to escape reality, relieve stress and internet is something that offers this! Feelings of loneliness, stress, depression and boredom seem to disappear temporarily as a person gets lost in cyberspace

It's true that internet can relieve someone from his personal problems, however we have to admit that there are more healthy and effective ways to feel better. Some of these ways might be exercising, meditating, and practicing simple relaxation techniques.

Signs and symptoms of Internet and Computer addiction
Signs and symptoms of Internet addiction might differ from person to person. There are not set hours per day or per week that can define if someone is addicted to internet or not. At the same time, there are some general warning signs that show that internet becomes addictive. Some of them might include loosing track of time online, having trouble completing tasks at work or home, isolation from family and friends, feeling guilty or defensive about Internet use and feeling an unreal sense of euphoria while involved in Internet activities.

How to overcome this addiction
The first thing is to analyze the information indicated above and compare your own internet habits. Be objective and honest with yourself. Denial is the greatest enemy!

If you fear that you may be a victim to IAD do the following:
  • Set a strict time/duration to be on the internet and stick to it. Try the Tomato Time App. 
  • Take up Meditation or Yoga, as it will help your self-control. 
  • Ask friends and family for help. 
  • Build and internet free routine and social life.
  • Never eat with a Mobile Phone, Laptop or Tablet. 
  • For bad cases consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. 
If you feel that you might be completely addicted to the internet don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. This will make you face this problem and get back to your normal lifestyle and routine, as it used to be before the addiction.
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