- SurvivalBlog.com - https://survivalblog.com -

Your Brain On Paper—How to Write Useful Operating Instructions, by M.R. – Part 3


I designed the storage system and have assumed all responsibilities for filling the water containers and replacing the water every two years. In my absence, that responsibility falls to the oldest member of the remaining family who is also responsible for the continued upkeep of this operating instruction and ensuring that it is available to all group members. If group discipline problems erupt in using the water, that person acts with the authority of a group leader. I may be gone, but I’m watching from heaven!



All water containers and Katadyn filtration kits were purchased from Sierra Survival Supplies at Washington and First. Bob, the owner is the best contact point. Containers are also available from Redoubt Water Supply and Service next to the old city hall on Main Street. Amazon.com is also a good source for replacement items.

Other operating instructions that are related to this instruction include:

Each Katadyn kit contains a folded sheet of instructions to refer to.

Date Written: January 23, 2013

Last Reviewed: January 15, 2015, no changes were made. (My initials)

Location of Instructions:

Orange-colored Operating Instruction Binder is maintained in the city house gun safe. If you don’t know the combination, ask another member who bothered to remember it or can tell you where the combination is secretly stored.


Jan 15, 2015—“I am planning to compare our water plans with Bob Stratford as he has been doing research and has some helpful improvements. His number is ###-####.” (initials)


After You Complete an Instruction

Now is the time to make sure that those who might need it when SHTF know that it exists and where it is. It provides a great reason to sit the family down for a meeting and to bask in the glory of your latest preparation accomplishment. Don’t be surprised if the meeting in which you planned to receive adoration turns into having immediate things that need to be changed. Is it a failure? No! You just discovered a hole or gap in your preps, a potential Achilles heel. Now you can fix it. This is a good thing.

Where you keep the binder should be based on its contents, in terms of security. If you have an instruction containing information you don’t want anyone other than your survival team to know, you need to secure your binder of instructions. I have an instruction covering sensitive financial information and caches, for example. So, my operating instruction binder is kept in a safe, and those with a need to know have the combination memorized or know where the combination to the safe is hidden. You can also choose to separately maintain operating instructions that have sensitive information. As far as protection from the elements, an ideal location would be with your stash of important papers and documents that you have collected for a possible bug-out.

Materials Needed

I’m a scrounger, so I try to avoid new expenditures. If you have some good office supplies on hand, you may be happy with those. Ideally, I have found that a flexible and sturdy 3-ring plastic binder in a bright color, with each instruction printed off and then kept in a document protector is great. I’ve listed some outstanding survival-oriented products below. They don’t have to be done on computer and then printed; they can be hand-written in durable ink [8], crossed-out, and written over. As long as they are legible, they are useful. Hand-written is preferable, if you are more likely to complete them that way. You will also be less likely to include unneeded information.

If money is not an issue, here are some recommended materials available online to produce a weather-sturdy operating instruction collection of the highest quality:


Putting together operating instructions has not been as fun as designing a mini-survival kit or mastering eight ways to start a fire, but it has proven not too difficult to accomplish. Operating instructions can be done with a word processor, or written by hand. If you are compulsive by nature, enlist your spouse or another adult family or group member to keep you from writing an encyclopedia. Also, whether your write these by yourself or with help, the very process will do something you probably have been doing inadequately and infrequently, and that is doing a real review of your preps. Keep this task limited and you may very well find, as I have, that the process of writing instructions is actually an overall time-saver and helpful organizer.