The simplest part of immediate readiness is assembling a readiness kit. The government website Ready.gov has a good list for a basic kit, and a quick Google search can reveal hundreds of variations on the theme. That said, everyone’s kit is going to contain different things based on each person’s views, approach, and the kind of changes the person might be planning for. I tend to follow the advice presented by Laughing Wolf in his “Readiness Week” posts at the blog Blackfive because he has assembled quite a bit of information and experience all in one place. Whatever list someone might use, it should contain, as a minimum, the following:
- Three gallons of water per person involved in the plan.
- Enough preserved food to last each person involved in the plan for three days.
- Flashlights and batteries (a hand crank radio with a built-in flashlight is really the better way to go).
- A portable radio with batteries (a hand crank radio with a built-in flashlight is really the better way to go).
- Weather appropriate clothing and footwear for each person.
In addition, some other things to consider as part of immediate readiness kits that do not always come up in lists:
- A good quality multi-tool. I prefer multi-tools from Gerber, but brand is not so much of an issue as quality, but it needs to have pliers, a knife, and a flathead screwdriver as a minimum.
- At least 100 feet of rope. I prefer military grade 550 cord because of its versatility.
- A length of malleable wire (such as electric fence wire or steel ground wire). Wire can be used for all sorts of purposes, and even a short coil can prove to be infinitely useful.
- A roll of duct tape.
- A backpack big enough to hold all of your immediate readiness supplies.
The previous two lists are far from complete, but they are a good place to start. In my opinion, the best way to start an immediate readiness kit is to buy one of the ones someone else has already put together. There are as many kits as there are places that sell that kind of thing, but my personal preference right now is the Personal 72 Hour Emergency Kit with MREs from Emergency Essentials, to which I would add a Pocket Survival Pak (or a Pocket Survival Pak Plus when they become available), an emergency blanket, an emergency sleeping bag, a multi-tool, a 100 foot coil of 550 cord, a 100 foot coil of wire, and a roll of duct tape. My kits also tend to collect a variety of other things along the way, but pay attention to how much you put in the bag because they can get really heavy really quick.
I also take my kits one step farther by trying to stock one kit for each person in my house and another in my car, that way, even when I am away from home, I know I have at least a three day kit nearby. I also always carry a small pocket knife with me and will probably add some sort of survival key chain to the mix at some point so even if I cannot get to my kits, I am not without resources.
An important part of a complete immediate readiness plan is having an evacuation plan. Some sudden changes, like a natural disaster or a political upheaval, may require people to relocate, sometimes very suddenly and very quickly. Evacuation plans should include the following considerations:
- Make sure there is enough fuel on hand for vehicles that may be used in an evacuation.
- Make sure that some part of the readiness supplies are easily portable in case evacuation means walking.
- If evacuation means walking, make sure you have appropriate clothing and footwear available. This idea is especially important if you find yourself needing to evacuate from work where you might not be wearing walking appropriate clothing and shoes.
- Make sure that portable readiness supplies include supplies to weather being outdoors, possibly for several days.
- Establish several rally points at increasing distances from the sites of potential changes and discuss those rally points with anyone involved in your plan.
Immediate readiness can be a lot more complicated than these simple considerations depending on the specific events someone might plan for, but starting at this simple point is a good way to establish a baseline from which more complex plans can be built.