Preparing for the Worst - Family Survival Planning

As fortunate as we are as a country, the U.S. is not immune to storms, bombings, violent home invasions, or even civil unrest. The problem is that as citizens, we never know when these disasters will occur. It's for this reason that everyone should seriously consider having a survival plan on the “ready” should what we hope never happens, becomes a reality.

Los Angeles Residents never expected to look out their window and see the National Guard patrolling their neighborhood back in 1992. But that became their reality after the police officers who beat Rodney King were found not guilty. The not guilty was the catalyst for the worst single episode of urban unrest in American history. Before it was over, the riots claimed 53 lives and left a wake of destruction ranging from fires to mass looting that totaled a billion dollars in damage.


In more recent events, 2011 delivered the state of Mississippi flooding of biblical proportions. Homes and businesses were submerged within hours, leaving hundreds of families displaced without the most basic of necessities, such as clean drinking water, food, and shelter.

Of course, not all disasters are the work of Mother Nature. Home crimes can be just as devastating. In the case of a violent home invasion in Connecticut, in 2007, a police officer responded to the home of the Petit family, only to see flames pouring out of the house. While the two suspects that fled the scene were quickly apprehended, the worst was far from over. Inside the home, police found Dr. William A. Petit Jr., 50, who had been severely beaten, along with the dead bodies of his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and their daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11. The police said that the victims had been tied up in separate rooms, and that Ms. Hawke-Petit and one of the daughters was sexually assaulted before the house was set on fire.

Surviving the worst requires critical thinking and planning. Whether you're at risk of experiencing the devastation of a tornado, earthquake, fire, flood, or violent home crime, preparing ahead can literally mean the difference between life and death.

The following are some life-saving tips that can help increase your chances of survival, no matter what the circumstances.

Know the Risks and Prepare a Plan of Action

Some states and cities are at high risk for tornadoes, earthquakes, and flooding; others bring with it a high occurrence of violent crimes. There are even a few towns that hold the risk of nuclear or bio - chemical disaster.

Preparing for the unknown means knowing ahead of time what potential dangers pose the greatest risk to you and your family. This can be determined by taking a look at where you live—not just from a natural disaster perspective, but a security and crime perspective as well.

If you live in a neighborhood or city with a high level of burglaries, home invasions, rapes, or homicides, you should take this into account when planning for the worst. Having your home burglarized and your valuables stolen can be just as devastating as a fire or flood if you're not financially prepared for it. Having to succumb to or losing a loved one to a violent criminal can be life altering.

When preparing your disaster plan, be sure to account for every possible scenario. Write out each step you and members of your family should follow. Your emergency plan should also include the names, phone numbers, and addresses of nearby friends, family, and other emergency contacts.

Last but not least, be sure to review your disaster plan with every member in your household. If you have children, explain things using words they can understand. Remember—should something happen to you, your children could be left to survive on their own. So the more you discuss and rehearse a plan these the more prepared they'll be.

Build a FEMA-Rated Safe Room

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA, openly encourages communities and homeowners to build a safe room. They even provide detailed construction plans and cost estimates for both converting an existing room of your home into a safe room, and building an above-ground or underground structure.

In addition to protecting you from extreme weather conditions, a safe room can double as a security safe room, keeping you protected against dangerous intruders. If you live in an area that's known for having a high crime rate, a safe room can provide you with the protection you need, as well as allow you the precious time necessary to call police and wait for them to arrive on the scene.

Stock Up on Emergency Supplies

The best of plans and the securest of safe rooms won't do you any good if you don't have the supplies you need to survive the emergency at hand. How much you'll need relies heavily on how many people are in your household and which potential disasters pose the biggest risk to you and your family.

In accordance to FEMA and other disaster planning experts, your emergency supplies should include the following:

  • Cellular phone and CB radio.
  • Bedding, such as blankets, pillows, and /or warm sleeping bags.
  • Any prescription medication you or members of your household require to survive.
  • Flashlights, batteries, and tools, such as a hammer, wrench, screwdriver, nails, etc.
  • A manual can opener, eating utensils, pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, paper towels etc.
  • If you have a pet, be sure to have extra pet food and water (1/2 a gallon per day per pet), extra leash, etc.
  • Firearm, self- defense and adequate training to ensure your prepared both physically and mentally for the task at hand.
  • Any special items you need to care for an infant or small child, such as baby formula, diapers, bottles, books, toys, etc.
  • Extra clothing and protective shoes for each family member, including water-resistant jackets, boots, sunglasses, hats, etc.
  • A first-aid kit equipped with a variety of bandages, alcohol, antibiotic ointment, over-the-counter pain relief medicines, and burn ointment. The more first-aid supplies you have, the better.
  • Other recommended supplies: cash, emergency phone numbers, a box of heavy-duty trash bags, duct tape, fire extinguisher, insect repellant, waterproof bags, tarps, a tent, and anything else you can think of that will help you and your family survive the event.
  • Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs). MREs are self-contained, individual meals housed in lightweight packaging that can be stored for years. MREs supply the nutrition of a 1200-corilie meal without the need for electric or gas cooking. To this day, the U.S. military utilizes MREs on the battle fields of Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • One gallon of water per day per household member. Water is the most vital of all emergency supplies. While you can survive for weeks without food, you won't last more than three to four days without water. Also, having what is known in the survival industry as "water bags" is absolutely essential. Water Bags are flexible, collapsible water storage tanks that provide a convenient means for the temporary storage of fresh water on a long-term basis.

Emergency supplies are crucial to any good survival plan. However, just as a fire, flood, or other natural disaster can destroy your home, it can do the same to your emergency supplies. So how and where you store your items is very important. Survival experts recommend storing emergency supplies in a room or structure that's easily accessible yet separate from your home, such as an underground, water-tight bunker. At the very least, your supplies should be stored in durable, waterproof bins with protective lids. As we've learned through Mother Nature and the actions of others, there are a number of potentially life-threatening disasters that can occur without a moment's notice. Taking the time to think about those risks and planning ahead is the best way to ensure you and your family have what you need to survive the worst.

Sources: U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA. "Safe Rooms."

Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.

Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:

The American Society for Industrial Security.

The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.

The Society of Professional Locksmiths.