Sunday, March 4, 2012

Prior Planning...Is That Redundant?

"Zombies hate fast food. Run like hell."*

A number of years ago my wife and I decided to prepare a cache of food, water and other necessities (tiny bottles of gin) for the extremely unlikely chance that the entire social fabric was rent asunder. Then, Barack Obama was elected.

Kidding! I wanted to see if you were still reading.

I finally got to it this weekend. I asked "What is the first thing we should save if we had to evacuate?"

"The animals."

I was kind of hoping she would say "You, dear. I never want to be apart" but after nearly twenty years of marriage neither of us pull punches. Okay, fine.

Of course, being a wonkish,  first responder type, I did the required reading. I bought a magazine offering the article "Bugout Bags: Disaster Preparedness." What could be more topical, more on point, more....

"I always begin my bugout bag with a Glock 19, plus two spare mags." Huh? Do they even allow guns in an evacuation shelter?

Maybe the author was one of those guys, always preparing for Armageddon. Maybe even hoping for it. I flipped to the next section, written by a SWAT cop. A brother officer, honed by years of disaster training--

"Lots of flashbangs. SWAT duty helmet. Four spare .223 mags."

What the.... I half expected the first aid primer to suggest recording coordinates for the medevac chopper's LZ. Thankfully, that writer exercising restraint as the better part of valor, I picked up some great tips. I ignored the advice on obtaining a military surplus field surgery kit ($22.95).

Ah, now came the dogs. The usual stuff - food, water, chew toys. Food - $3.50 per eight ounce serving, shelf life five years. Yuck! The dogs would start eating me before they'd gnaw on five year old dry food. The cat survival food was just as expensive. Don't forget litter, kennels, dishes. Bug out? It would be more of a stagger out, under a mountain of gear slung into backpacks--.

Oh, yeah. I have this great, brightly-colored pack in the garage. "Your pack should be a soft, earth tone or military pattern in the event concealment is required." From? "In OpSit Level Three, prepare to escape and evade, defending yourself from ill-prepared neighbors. Consider a Bug-in at a prepared safe room, or bunker."

Of course, if the menace is zombies, apparently only a machete will suffice.

Believe it or not, the best guide came from FEMA. They suggested a family start from the beginning - assess the nature of threat. Here in Colorado mostly tornadoes, snow and the usual man-made disasters (we're less than a mile from - a reactor, two water treatment plants and the Denver Federal Center) represent the reason we might need to either bug out or hunker down. So, the prospect of no power, impassible roads...days of surviving on our own, not weeks. Maybe just hours.

What did I have on hand? Sitting on a bookshelf was a Kevlar helmet, left over from SWAT Negotiator days. Everyone knows, of course, that nothing says prepared so much as an old green army helmet. Nothing says noggin protection in the event of high winds and debris as something designed to be bullet resistant, either. I tossed it into the bag, along with a face scarf.

Food? Our pantry contains cans of stuff to make soup, boxes of crackers and no guarantee I could get to them from shelter. The late Harvey Manning, author of Backpacking, One Step At A Time, suggested pemmican as an emergency ration while on the trail. Why? Because no sane individual would ever eat it unless the alternative was cooking their shoes. Aha! I've been in the military! We'll buy MREs!

"Meals rejected by the enemy." We bought a case, mostly because they have self-heating packets and don't require water. We tried one, a vegetable stew with beef. The raisins (I hate raisins) were fresh, so my wife said. The chocolate chip cookie actually tasted good. The peanut butter was probably once actual peanuts. The cracker reminded of hardtack as described by the troops fighting the Civil War. And the heated up stew?

Perfect. Awful. I needed a scotch to chase away the aftertaste.

A change of clothes, a flat of water, a trip to the pet food store for a bag of stuff they'll eat and...

Bring on the Zombies.

 *No clue.


  1. I heard the other day, from one of our cohorts, that I don't have to be well prepared...I just have to be better armed than those who are.

    Oh, and don't forget the cash of ammo!

  2. Sort of analogous to not having to run faster than the bear, only faster than the slowest member of your group.