Probably the most well known TEOTWAWKI of all time is the story of Noah’s Ark. A devastating flood wiping out everything and everyone you know, and relocating you to some foreign land, is definitely the end of the world as you know it. When thinking about this story, we usually think about the 40 days and nights on the ark, and how Noah and his family had to survive that. But in reality that was not the real survival situation. The real survival situation started when the waters receded and Mr. and Mrs. Noah had to start over. Building, planting, raising animals – all had to be handled from square one.
When we realize this, we also realize that the Ark was merely a tool. A tool that got Noah safely into a situation where he could survive. Without the ark he would have perished, but it was really the seeds and animals and other supplies he had stored that made long term survival possible.
The same is true for us. Sure we have a stockpile of food and water, we have a generator, we have redundancy of supplies – but what if we can’t get to it? what if we can’t access it? What if, like Noah without an ark, we can’t arrive at a situation conducive to survival – no matter how prepared we are.
We all need an ark, or in this case, an Action Ready Kit.
The premise of an Action Ready Kit, or A.R.K., is to have equipment and supplies that will help you get from “point A” to “point of survival”. Reasonable example: you are at work, 5 miles from your house, when the civil unrest starts. The riots get dangerous, and pretty soon you can see that driving home along the regular roads is going to be a tough task indeed. Your family is OK, they are home, they have secured themselves as per your emergency plan and they have supplies to last. But at some point you are going to need to get home, and most likely, that is going to happen via a combination of driving and hoofing it. Time for action – are you ready – this is where the A.R.K comes in.
Safely secured in the trunk of you car, is a backpack with the things you need to get home. A selection of tools and supplies that will help you get through almost anything that comes your way. I propose that this “A.R.K.” be designed with these four aspects of survival in mind: Rations, Self defense, Escape, and Work.
Rations, is actually the easy one. You only need enough energy to burn and water to drink to get you home. A small pack of high calorie food bars, and a reservoir of water will suffice.
Self Defense is next. Certainly a handgun is going to be hard to beat. And maybe you already have your carry permit so you are covered there. But firing off rounds all the way across town might not be the most prudent action. Stealth maybe required; a telescoping baton and a fixed blade knife should be high on the list of items to include. Other possibilities like pepper spray or SAP gloves are also good to consider.
Next, is Escape. The unrest starts and you immediately retrieve you’re A.R.K. from the trunk and return to your office to assess the situation. Suddenly the looters come in the front and you need to get out the back. Time to escape. While hoofing it home, on your way through a back alley, you run into a fence that you cannot simply bypass. Time to escape. So what do you need in these situations? Well a standard 24 inch crowbar could help, a pair of fencing pliers could be incredibly handy. Maybe some rope, or some webbing, or even para-cord. You should definitely have a quality flashlight. What about that fixed blade knife from earlier? The point is to assess what obstacles you might encounter on the way home, and what will help you overcome them. You may need to pass through a building, can you pick a lock? Do you have picking kit? What if you are injured? Do you have first aid supplies? A small monocular is nice to have for scoping an area out. If you work in dress shoes, you better have some boots in your kit.
Under “escape” I also include communication. A small FRS radio, hand-held CB, or especially a HAM, could give you invaluable information. Follow the chatter. Some local CERT team may be using the FRS to talk about the overpass being damaged, now you can adjust your route accordingly. Route? Maybe you should have a map!
Last, is Work. It’s going to take work to get home – or wherever you are going. Some gloves will help. A multitool can’t be beat for many tasks. What if you have to bunker for the night, and it’s cold, can you start a fire? All of these things need to be considered.
The point here is to assess your situation and plan for it. You can’t plan for everything that might happen, especially if you think you’ll need to carry the A.R.K on you back. But where are you most likely to get caught in an emergency? And what is the terrain like between “point A” and “point of survival”? What obstacles might you run into? Who, might you run into? How can you solve those problems?
Again, I suggest using a backpack for the A.R.K. Internal or external frame will be up to you. But it should be something that you can carry for a long distance, and still be able to maneuver with. For an average build 6 foot guy, that pack with all its contents shouldn’t weigh more than 35 pounds. Save weight by including equipment that can serve multiple functions. The crow bar is a versatile tool, and an effective weapon. Same for the knife.
Each kit is going to be custom, so there is no point in me posting a long list of possible items to include. Just consider this “If I need to get to safety, what will help me get there?” Be creative. Maybe civil unrest is not top on the list of what you are worried about, but maybe traveling home after an ice storm or an earthquake is. Think about, plan for it, and get ready for action.