I was a United States Marine for more than 10 years. During that time, I learned every survival technique for every terrain and circumstance that I could.
I attended cold weather survival training in Alaska,, SERE (survival evasion resistance and escape) training, desert training in Twentynine Palms, California – not far from Death Valley – and Jungle Warfare training in Okinawa, Japan.
Being prepared for any situation in every kind of environment gave me the confidence to know that I could survive anywhere.
When I left the military and became a Pan-African, I was stunned to encounter so many Brothers and Sisters who did not have an ‘Asafo’ – or warrior – mindset.
If any group of people should be ready for anything, its us! Here are some very real numbers:
- 230,000 people died during and after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
- 1,836 lost their lives during Hurricane Katrina, while Hurricane Dorian caused an estimated $1.5 billion to $3 billion worth of damage in the Caribbean.
- Dozens in Atlanta froze to death in their cars and homes in winter of 2014 when snow buried the city.
- In 2012, Hurricane Sandy tore through New York and New Jersey, killing 159 people and causing $70 billion in property damage. In much of the region, low-income people and people of color were hit the hardest.
- Floods in Africa killed 25 times more people than Hurricane Harvey did in 2017
- Ebola killed more than 5,000 people.
- In March 2017, around 800,665 Haitians were infected with cholera, and more than 9,000 of them died.
And here’s the thing:
Black victims probably never thought they would become victims.Many of these deaths could have been prevented with a little help or preparation.
The same fate that they suffered through awaits those who fail to prepare. Natural disasters will happen again.
If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.
The best preparation that you can make is knowing what threats exist, developing a survival oriented warrior mindset, and having some basic items within reach in case sh*t hits the fan.
Here is what you need to know.
Do You Know What A Level 5 Event Looks Like?
What would you do if a Hurricane struck your community? Would you survive a Haiti – level earthquake? Or would you just “leave it in God’s hands”?
What would you do if the power grid in your state went out for several weeks? Would you know how to survive until help arrived?
These scenarios are what we call Level 5 Events, and they include Category 5 hurricanes or typhoons, Level 5 earthquakes, Category 5 winter storms, and other extreme natural events.
These are events that cause loss of life, destruction of infrastructure, and require the survival skills to overcome.
Here are just a few likely scenarios that have happened before and will definitely happen again:
- Crop failures
- Fire storms
- Flash floods
- Forest fires/wild fires
- Climate changes
- Heat waves
- Mud/rock slides
- Pandemics – Full scale ebola outbreak shut down borders and caused martial law (update from 2020 – I warned you, didnt I).
- Severe winter weather
- Tidal wave/Tsunami
- Volcanic eruptions
Scan the news headlines from here and the rest of the world, and you will quickly realize how often dangerous these scenarios can be.
During a ‘Level 5 Event’, the electrical grid will shut down, transportation will come to a halt, and pipes will burst leading to contaminated water supplies.
Dont make the mistake of thinking you can just wait out an event like this. Consider this:
Hurricane Katrina struck on a Monday. By Wednesday, there were rumors of martial law and the city was in survival mode. By Thursday, hospitals were euthanizing patients.
In just 4 short days, New Orleans deteriorated into an apocalyptic hellscape. If you had tried to ‘wait things out’, you may have gotten swept up.
And even if you make it through the main event, the aftermath can be just as deadly.
The following is from an article published right after Hurricane Katrina:
“The biggest threats of infectious disease don’t come from dead or decaying bodies in the water or (to a large extent) spoiled food. They involve the failure of basic public-health services: sewage disposal and water purification. Since the hurricane hit New Orleans, there has been no clean water available for washing, cooking, or drinking. The floodwater drowning the city is contaminated with sewage.”
No clean water means a host of diseases that could lead to a quick and miserable death. These diseases include Typhoid fever, Cholera, and Dysentery (leading to a bloody, slimy diarrhea and cramping.People have literally sh*tted themselves to death in just a few hours).
Now that you realize the same fate could await you without proper preparation, its time to go to work.
Develop The Asafo Mindset
Survival preparation is more about mindset than material. Specifically, you must have a proactive warrior mindset and you must know what priorities to address before you take action. Here are 4 ways to do so.
Imagine most likely and worst case scenarios for your specific area
Do you live near nuclear power plants? Then you are at risk for a meltdown. Hurricane or tornado zones? Have snowstorms caused deaths in your area in the past? Do you live near a body of water or an active volcano (Madagascar, Oregon and Washington State)? Do you live in earthquake zones?
Your most likely scenarios will change based on your location. Think about the most likely scenario for your area, and use your imagination to develop a realistic plan of escape if the worst happens. And speaking of plans of escape…
Move first and move fast – Get out of the ‘kill zone’
The kill zone is an area that is either in the path of or already hit by a natural disaster. If the disaster has already struck, get out of the disaster area as fast as possible.
Your very first response to any dangerous situation is to get the hell out of the ‘kill zone’. Move. Move first, and move fast. Again, dont try to wait it out. Go on a 30 minute drive with the family. Jump on the last flight out. If possible, never ever shelter in place. You become a sitting duck.
If you can be the first one out of the city, all the better. By the time the masses realize they are in danger, the highways will already be gridlocked.
And if you cant escape on your own, focus on getting rescued. Do not wait things out. Do not attempt to stay in your home. And do not allow yourself or your family to be herded into any emergency camps, refugee camps, stadiums, or government established safe zones.
These camps are dangerous, dirty, human holding pens. Think about the camps around Port-Au-Prince Haiti or Northern Uganda, or the New Orleans Superdome. The people who left the area fared well. The people who stayed have horror stories to tell:
A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered the restroom. Blood stains the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers…There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming. The city’s water supply, which had held up since Sunday, gave out early yesterday, and toilets in the Dome became inoperable and began to overflow.
“There is feces on the walls,” said Bryan Hebert, 43, who arrived at the dome Monday. “There is feces all over the place.”
The Superdome is patrolled by more than 500 Louisiana National Guard, many of whom carry machine guns as sweaty, smelly people press against metal barricades that keep them from leaving, shouting as the soldiers pass by: “Hey! We need more water! We need help!”(Source)
Rescue and medical care is the first priority of any disaster scenario. Repeat that to yourself. Not food, not water, not shelter – rescue.
If you cannot rely on government services to come and get you, and if you cant drive or fly out of the area, then you will need to prepare to walk for no less than half a day. Adult humans walk on average 3 miles per hour, so that would put you a comfortable 18 miles away from the kill zone.
I suggest you have a rally point that is away from the city and in a rural environment that you share with your friends and family. Let everyone know that is where you will be in a Level 5 Event. Dont count on being able to link up in the city and move together.
Of course, this changes if you have children or elderly with you, so plan and prepare accordingly.
Remember the rule of 3
The Rule of Three is the order of priority that you should address your survival situation.
– You can survive 3 minutes without oxygen.
– You can survive 3 hours without shelter.
– You can survive 3 days without water.
– You can survive 3 weeks to 30 days without food.
So according to the rule of 3, you should focus on first aid first (restoring the breathing, stopping bleeding, protecting wounds, and treating for shock).
Next, your focus in on finding shelter. A survival situation can go from bad to worse if you cannot find warm, dry shelter that protects you from the elements.
Exposure (hyperthermia or hypothermia) is a threat that cannot be ignored, and can turn mild illnesses into life threatening ones.
Third, focus on finding water.
And lastly – once the first three priorities are taken care of – find food.
I NEVER advise trying to carry more than 2 days worth of food. In the aftermath of a disaster, canned food will be laying around and in abandoned homes, and food can be gathered from the outdoors. Carrying heavy food supplies can slow you down when speed can mean the difference between life and death.
Of course, you will need to have some items ready to go to increase your odds of survival. And these items will need to be in places where you can get at them quickly. I suggest you have a kit stashed
– At home
– At work
– and In your car trunk
Building Your Own ‘Category 5 Kit’
As I previously mentioned, you need three kinds of kits:
1. A Home Kit. This is your largest and heaviest kit.
2. A small Work Kit that contains basic first aid, rescue, and communications gear.
3. A Car Kit that contains vehicle, rescue, and shelter related items.
To check out or buy any of the items below, click on the links below. I have only listed items I have tested, owned or currently use.
Your Work Kit
You do not need a full survival kit at your workplace. If ish hits the fan, your mission is to get away from your job and to your car and home or a rally point outside of the city. The purpose of your work kit is to help you get out of your workplace and back to your car or home.
1. A small dufflebag or backpack. You need an easy to grab and go tactical dufflebag.
2. A respirator. In the middle of an outbreak like Influenza or ebola, or if there is smoke and dust, this will save your life.
3. A good first aid kit. You cant move if you are bleeding out.
4. A signal kit. If you are trapped under rubble or stuck on the roof, you need a way to signal for rescue. Get all three of these items. A mirror wont work at night, so you need glow sticks. Whistles work in the dark or if you are under rubble. And waving glow sticks around will get attention at night.
Your Car Kit
In addition to the first aid kit, signal kit, and respirator in your work kit, you should have items in your car kit that help you repair your car, siphon fuel from other cars, and keep you warm if you will be sleeping in your car during cold nights. Here is the equipment I suggest you have.
1. A good car repair kit
2. A siphon and gas can: When sh*t hits the fan, gas stations wont be open. You will need gasoline. And there will be many cars parked around. A siphon is a hose that you can use to pull gasoline out of those parked vehicles. Grab one of these and keep them in your trunk.
You can buy a gas can at a local store.
3. Survival blankets or a quilt or heavy blanket.
Your home kit is the biggest kit of the three.
Your Home Kit
Your home kit is your mid to long term kit. In addition to the items mentioned above, your home kit should contain 5 components: The best pack you can afford, items that protect you from the elements, a water kit, a food kit, and a field manual. Here are items I have used in the past.
1. Large, weather resistant pack. I have gone through a lot of packs in my day. Here is a piece of advice: spend as much as you can on the highest quality pack that you can find.
2. Shelter. Shelter starts with the clothing on your body and extends all the way out to the tools and material that you have to protect you from the elements.
Clothing – You have these already. Throw some old dark colored jeans and a long sleeve heavy button up shirt in your pack. Just make sure the material is durable. You will also need a hat, socks, and long underwear in your pack. Do not pack bright colors or items with logos all over them. You may need to blend in with your surroundings.
Poncho (you can also make shelters out of these)
A fire kit – Your fire kit should include two ways to make fire along with tinder to start fire in wet or dry conditions.
Items to make shelter – These include items to lash and cut small branches. You already have a tarp if you bought a poncho above.
3. A water kit – This kit needs to contain something to carry water in, and multiple ways to purify water.
4. A food kit
5. A field manual. Keep yourself and your group busy by practicing the skills in this book until your situation passes.
A Full Summary of Your Cat 5 Kit
Everything goes in your pack so you can grab and go.
- Large Rucksack (here)
- Basic tools
- A shelter kit
- 12×12 ground tarp (here)
8mm climbing rope (10m)
550 Paracord (20m)
- A multi-seasonal sleeping bag that fits within provided backpack
- Bivy bag (Gore-Tex sleeping bag cover)
- 12×12 ground tarp (here)
- A fire kit (trust me – lighters dont cut it)
- Ferro rod (here)
- A food and water kit
- A hygiene kit
- 1x bar soap
- 8oz tube of toothpaste
- 1x Toothbrush
- 40 m roll of dental floss
- Shaving razor (and 1 blade)
- Towel (30” x 60”)
- Clothing appropriate for your area
- 1x Pair of high leg Hunting boots
- 2x Pairs of Outdoor Pants that can unzip into shorts (MENS / WOMENS)
- 1x T-shirt
- 2x Fleece or wool shirts (hooded or unhooded)
- 3x Pairs of wool socks
- 1x Hat (brimmed, wool or baseball)
- 1x Bandana or shemagh
- 1x Pair gloves
- 1x Light outdoor jacket
- 2x Pairs of underwear
- 1x Rain jacket and rain trousers
- 1x Thermal underwear (long)
- 1x Pair of gaiters
- 1x Pair of Crocs, Teva sandals or Keen sandals
- A Survival Manual (here)
While this list may be long, all of these items are lightweight and easy to pack.
Remember, the most important tool you have at your disposal is your mindset. Spend a little money periodically to buy the necessities that will give you the confidence to come out of any disaster alive.
A bonus of having these kits is they give you a reason to get outdoors and practice with the family or alone.
If you wait until the next disaster to get your gear in order, it is already too late. Start stockpiling now and you will thank yourself later.