News of catastrophic events greets you every time you turn on T.V or open the paper: Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards and floods kill thousands every year. In addition to natural disasters, there are potential man-made emergencies such as transportation accidents, chemical spills, civil disorders, terrorist attacks and war. Although certain areas are at higher risk for specific types of events, the fact is there is no place on Earth that is immune from a disaster of some kind. Even every-day activities like trail riding, boating, hiking or driving to Grandma’s house has the potential of becoming a life-threatening emergency for the unprepared.
In consideration of these facts I recently decided to assemble an emergency survival kit, along with taking other safety measures around my home, starting with a list of items that would come in handy in an emergency. Although my wife calls me a safety nerd, I do not by any means consider myself an expert on survival. I considered the potential threats that existed in my community and the possibility of what I would want to have with me in my car if I were stranded or had to evacuate in a hurry. After compiling the list I then prioritized items so that all gear would fit in some type of container that was small enough to fit into a car truck and even light enough to be carried on me. This would only be one part of an overall safety plan and this kit would be for my individual use.
The GLOCK Advantage
Based on my experience as a law enforcement officer, I knew that in a disaster you should expect that some people will be irrational, interested in self-preservation only or may even take advantage of the chaos to commit criminal acts. In the event of a terrorist attack or civil disorder you might have to defend yourself from violent attackers including predators of opportunity, and if you are stranded in the wilderness you might have to protect yourself from a predatory animal. For these reasons, I decided to include one of my GLOCK pistols in my survival kit. GLOCK pistols are tough, reliable and proven as a personal defense weapon. Construction features such as the polymer frame and tenifer finish on the metal parts make GLOCK pistols resistant to damage or degradation from the environment in survival situations. Another favorable consideration is that there are more than 20 GLOCK models in various calibers to choose from. Which allows individuals to choose what is right for them.
To carry the pistol on my person after it is retrieved from the kit, I selected a GLOCK sport/combat holster. These holsters are light weight, comfortable to wear and are adaptable for wear on belts of different widths. I also chose to include a GLOCK magazine pouch, which has the same features as the holster. The polymer construction of the holster and magazine pouch make them impervious to water and bodily fluids, which would likely be absorbed by a leather or nylon holster. In addition to a loaded magazine in the pistol and the one to be worn on the belt, I included two additional magazines in the kit.
GLOCK Tools for Sight
Since the GLOCK pistol I picked has mounting rails, I decided to include a GLOCK Tactical Light. GLOCK makes tactical light modules that use modern microelectronics. GLOCK Tactical Lights offer ambidexterity and simple operation with a sturdy design. A variety of different options using lights and aiming lasers are available. There are also two different switch options including a temporary/full-on switch or the variable dimmer switch. This allows one to make the most advantageous choice based on their individual needs. Just like GLOCK pistols, the GLOCK Tactical Light defies all weather and climates because of its lightweight polymer construction. GLOCK testing of the light modules has indicated that they are watertight up to a depth of 10 meters underwater. Its handy size and shape also make the GLOCK Tactical Light suitable for use as a handheld flashlight. GLOCK Tactical Lights come in a carrying case that hold two replacement Xenon lamps and one set of CR123 batteries.
A high quality, functional fixed-blade knife is also a desirable addition to any emergency kit. GLOCK meets this requirement with their Field Knife 78 or Survival Knife 81. Both knives feature a 6-1/2 inch blade and an overall length of 11.4 inches. The blades are phosphate-treated, HRC55 spring steel and the grips are polymer. Both are lightweight and come with a sturdy sheath made of GLOCK polymer. The Survival Knife 81 features a saw on the back of the blade and for that reason I chose it for my kit. A good knife can be used for myriad tasks: prying, cutting, self-defense and field dressing game. If securely fastened to a strong stick it can even be used for spear fishing.
The GLOCK Entrenching Tool is another fine tool. It has a surface-treated spade blade that can be locked in three positions for different uses. The spade can be easily changed from a shovel into a hoe. It has a telescoping collapsible handle and is very compact when closed. Such a sturdy shovel is singularly useful for tasks such as digging fire pits, stuck vehicles, snow drifts, latrines and burying waste to prevent spreading disease and attracting vermin. A saw blade is stored inside the handle when not in use. The hardened saw blade in the handle could be quickly mounted and used for cutting tree limbs for fuel and material for building shelters.
Other Survival Aids
Survival situations might require building a fire for warmth, to cook food, signal for help and frighten away predators. I added a butane lighter for starting fires. I prefer the long type designed to light grills and fireplaces, as they are easier to use than the smaller cigarette lighters and decrease the risk of accidental burns. Because butane lighters can leak or not work when wet I also included 30 waterproof strike-anywhere matches in two waterproof vials.
There was enough room in the vials to enclose six large safety pins and one sewing needle. I then wrapped the outside of one vial with a few feet of heavy-duty dental floss for emergency sewing and secured it with plastic tape. On the other vial I wrapped two feet of heavy duty duct tape. I also included fire tender sticks in the kit—compressed wood chips and paraffin wax, found in most large department stores. To supplement the flashlight I included three 12-hour chemical light sticks. It is important to note that these chemical lights have expiration dates and should be replaced more often if they are stored at cold or hot temperatures. As a memory aid and to make notes I added a pad of waterproof paper and a small pencil. The small pencils commonly found at golf courses, bowling alleys or lottery kiosks work well.
For protection from exposure I included a metalized polyester blanket commonly called a “space blanket.” This blanket can be wrapped around the body to trap radiant heat as well as reduce convective and evaporative heat loss. This blanket stores in a compact space and is wind and water resistant. A heavy-duty poncho was added for rain protection and to be used to construct a rain, wind or sun shelter. Several feet of parachute cord was also included for shelter construction and general utility use. Although it doesn’t fit inside the kit I also carry a modular sleeping bag system in a compression sack that allows it to fit in relatively small spaces. Inside the bag I also carry a change of clothing that is season appropriate. I also have a high quality rigger-type belt that allows me to carry my GLOCK pistol and survival knife along with other items on my person.
If you are stranded in a remote area or a region that has been impacted by a disaster, an important concern is helping rescuers find you. The ability to communicate that you are in distress and need assistance is paramount. One item you should have is a cellular telephone so that you can call emergency services providers. The downside of cellular telephones is that they don’t always work as some remote and mountainous areas have little or no signal coverage. During events such as floods, storms and even terrorist attacks cell relay towers may be blown down or disabled. It is also common for such systems to be overwhelmed with calls during major events. If you regularly travel to remote areas, a satellite telephone should be considered.
One of the newest, must-have pieces of survival gear to be made is the PLB (Personal Locator Beacon). The PLB transmits a 406 MHz homing signal that is picked up by satellites in Earth orbit. This system of satellites is collectively known as SARSAT (Search And Rescue Satellite System). Once the satellite receives the distress signal it relays the information to one of many ground control stations located around the world. Some PLBs also have an embedded GPS receiver that in turn transmits your exact position through the distress signal. Rescue forces can be notified in as little as 15 minutes after the PLB is activated. ACR Electronics MicroFix Personal Locator Beacon is the best in my opinion.
ACR makes a variety of other emergency signal devices and I included more than one in my kit: First was a C-Strobe emergency signal strobe light. The C-Strobe is waterproof and has an attachment pin to facilitate attaching it to your clothing. This can be seen for two miles under ideal conditions and is perfect for signaling at night. For daylight use, ACR makes the Hot Shot signaling mirror. The highly reflective mirror sold with a whistle is made of durable polycarbonate. A whistle is much more effective at drawing the attention of searchers than shouting. All of these ACR equipment have lanyards to be attached to your person—a highly recommended practice in emergency situations.
One necessity in a survival situation is drinking water. Dehydration will kill a person in matter of a few days or even hours. In addition to my survival kit and sleeping bag I carry 12 liters of bottled water in my vehicle. If I have to use rainwater, stream water or tap water that is contaminated, I have water disinfectant tablets. Four high-energy stabilized food bars were added for meals. It is imperative to remember that water is more important than food and you should never eat if you don’t have water, as doing so can speed dehydration.
Medical supplies and sanitary needs are essential. I have a compact medical kit that includes items for minor and nuisance injuries in addition to severe trauma and bleeding control. Analgesic and necessary prescription medications are also in my kit. Insect repellent wipes, sunscreen wipes and hand cleaner were also integrated in the medical kit. I included two cakes of hotel-sized hand soap that I keep in a waterproof wrap.
Remember to never contaminate sources of potable water when washing or eliminating waste. Bury waste and trash (with your GLOCK Entrenching Tool) in a safe area deep enough to prevent attracting insects and animals. A good set of sunglasses and prescription sports glasses in a crush-proof case are included, along with a sun hat and a pair of leather work gloves. Three rolls of camping toilet paper are always in my kit! GLOCK’s large range bag was a perfect supply container. All of the items fit inside and the shoulder strap allows it to be readily carried. If you take your kit on a boat or you live in a flood-prone area you would probably substitute a waterproof bag that floats.
The kit I assembled was based on my personal assessment of my needs and the potential hazards where I live. You may wish to add or delete items that might make such a kit more functional for you in your own circumstances. If you decide to include a firearm and large knife, it is your responsibility to consider the risks and to insure you do not violate the laws where you live or travel. Seek appropriate survival, medical, and firearms training that meet your needs. Know the equipment you select and make sure you know how to use it effectively should the need arise. As with all tools, many of the items I selected for my kit have the potential to harm the user if improperly or carelessly used. One of the best things you can do in an emergency is to keep a clear head and stay safety oriented.
News of catastrophic events greets you every time you turn on T.V or open…
by Jeff Cooper / Nov 11, 2009