I am assuming that, since you are reading this, you are either prepared for the uncertain future we face, in the process of preparing, or curious about the subject of the preparedness lifestyle. You may have supplies on hand or have a support group of like-minded people to help when TEOTWAWKI occurs. You may have thought about possible scenarios that could occur and what you will do when they do happen. Do you have a backup plan? Do you have a second backup plan? Did you train others to do your job or jobs? Does everyone know how to do everything necessary to survive? I doubt that you could answer “yes” to all of these questions. So, what can you do to help your entire family or group survive?
I have done my best to see that everyone in my group is trained, but I know that individually, we still do not know everything needed to survive. I have compiled a small library of resources to help. This includes one resource, which I have compiled on my own. It is a binder with things we may need to know when TEOTWAWKI occurs. I want to share this process with you so that you may do the same.
My Survival Information Binder is an ongoing, ever-changing volume of information I have compiled. It contains material from a wide variety of sources on an even wider variety of subjects. The one thing they have in common is survival. I have printed resource pages from the Internet that give details about specific skills or tasks, and I have included my own personally-created materials. Some of these are things that some members of my group already know how to do, such as planting corn. Others are things that we have the skills to complete but need information about how to do it, such as building a windmill. Some of the subjects may seem quite simple, but we may need reminders of the steps needed when in a stressful situation. I do not want to think about it, but it might be necessary for younger members to survive without the older adults, who currently help to care for them. My hope is that this binder will give them the information they may need to live.
I have listed some of the topics covered and questions answered in my binder. I realize that some of the areas may seem vague. That was completely intentional. I do not feel it is wise to reveal everything about the extent of one’s survival plans. I am sure you understand.
If you choose to make a “Survival Information Binder,” how do you begin the process? I would begin by looking at what you already know. Write those things down, or print the information from the source where you found it. Be sure to not violate any copyright laws. Be detailed in your information. Never assume that others know to what you are referring. You never know who in your group will be doing the task. I would also include any measurements and drawings or diagrams that could help those individuals who are visual. Have someone who knows the skill about which you are writing proofread your data. Something as simple as “never,” “always,” “not,” or “do” in the wrong place, or a misplaced decimal point could have disastrous outcomes.
You could also take notes from this article, survivalist blogs, or Internet sites. I by no means think I have all of the answers, and neither does anyone worth their salt. What works for me may not work for you. I have made my plans for my specific needs, in my specific environments, to be used with my specific resources. Your Survival Binder will need to be tailored to meet your needs. Beware of anyone arrogant enough who feels they have all of the answers. This person probably has what I refer to as “prepper tunnel vision”. They are unwilling to learn from others. Even “baby survivalists” can teach us a thing or two.
Another thing I have found useful is reading survivalist fiction. Take notes as you read. Put yourself in the scenarios of the characters, and note the supplies and skills you would need in order to survive. I did this recently. In fact, this is what motivated me to make my binder. While reading Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles, one of the characters was making and selling soap. This triggered the thought that my stockpile of soap would eventually run out, and I needed to know how to make more. I made soap once with my grandmother when I was a teenager, but I do not remember all of the specifics on making it. I decided I needed to print out the directions on soap making. As I was looking over the list of ingredients, I noticed that lye is needed for all soaps. So, I also included a detailed description on how to make lye. I hope I never need to do this, but you never know what may happen. This was the beginning of my “Survival Information Binder”.
On a side note, I would highly recommend reading Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles. There are other good books, but this one is extremely informative. You will probably discover things that you had not thought about and skills that you need to know. The previous soap-making example is only one of the things I had failed to plan for and was listed in this book. Remember, you may have a huge stockpile, but what will you do when that is gone?
I put some thought in the areas in which I need to include information. I looked at my life now and included those main topics. Then I thought about the scenarios I had read about in survivalist fiction, and I included those also. I have information on the following main topics.
- Protection From The Elements (This includes security and protection.)
- Emotional Well-being
My binder is divided into these main topics and contains subtopics in each area. Some of these areas have their own separate binders and even reference books on the subject. For instance, I have books on gardening, first aid, herbs and natural healing, repair manuals for our specific vehicles, and books to assist with security. I also keep the owners manuals for any of the items I have. A large, plastic, *****AMAZON?****accordion folder is a good place to store these. You may want to include the manuals for your generator, heaters, firearms, ammunition reloaders, water filters, et cetera. I am constantly on the lookout for any reference materials that may be helpful. I am currently looking for a booklet identifying edible and healing plants native to my area and good books for raising and caring for the animals we have and those I plan on adding next spring.
Now we can look at each of the main topics for information that I have included and could be included as subtopics in your Survival Information Binder. Remember, this is by no means a complete list, and the information you include will need to be specific to your needs. Due to the nature of being a survivalist or a prepper, I am also going to be deliberately vague in some areas. I am doing this for my own protection and for the protection of my family and friends. I am sure you can understand.
Water is a necessity. Consider the following. You must stay hydrated. How many people are in your group? How much water will each person need to drink? How much water will you need per day to supply your group’s needs? How much water will be needed for sanitation?
- Water sources: You may not be able to turn on the faucet and get water. What will you do then? Include information on;
- Ways to purify water: The water you get may not be potable. How will you purify it?
- Boiling. How will you do this? How long will it need to be boiled?
- Chlorine. How much is needed to purify water?
- Distilling. How do I distill water? Include information on making a simple distillery. You may want to have the supplies on hand for this task.
- Iodine. How much per gallon? Does anyone in your group have an iodine allergy? If so, that person cannot drink water purified with iodine. You must have an alternate form of purification.
- Filtering. What filters do I have available? How do I use them? How much water can I filter before they need to be replaced? How do I backwash them? How do I replace the filter?
You must provide sustenance for your group. The food you have stockpiled needs to be nutritious. In addition, it must be something that will be eaten by members of the group. Consider the likes and dislikes of your group as you prepare. Also consider any allergies your members may have. Two members of my group have life-threatening food allergies. When we store foods, we are careful to keep these allergens away from other foods.
What will you do when you have depleted your stockpiled foods? What do you want to supplement the nonperishables you have? Do you know how to make simple main dishes, sides, breads, and pasta? Do you know how to make some of those fun and special treats that lift our spirits?
I have separate books for gardening. I felt this was too much information to be included in my Survival Information Binder. The only gardening information I have in it is that which is not covered in the gardening books.
- Livestock and Animals:
- How do I raise chickens, ducks, geese, cattle, goats, sheep, rabbits, and swine?
- What does my livestock eat? What information do I need to breed these animals?
- What common illnesses or injuries does my livestock get, and how do I care for them?
- How do I slaughter the animal, and how do I process the meat?
- Do you know how to sharpen your knives?
- How do I render lard? (Lard has many uses including cooking and as an ingredient for soap.)
- How do I tan the animal hides?
- Will I smoke, salt, dehydrate, freeze, or can the meat?
- How do I make sure the eggs and milk are safe to consume?
- How do I make cheese or butter?
- Do you know how to raise bees?
- Do you know how to make an efficient harvest of an animal when hunting and fishing?
- Do you know how to safely dress and preserve the wild animals you have harvested?
- Recipes, Cooking, and Baking:
- Do you know how to make yeast breads, biscuits, and quick breads?
- Do you know how to make pasta?
- Can you make a cake or cookies from scratch?
- Do you know how to make piecrust?
- Do you know how to make cider vinegar?
- Can you make pectin?
- Do you have a good recipe for energy bars?
- How do I cook outdoors?
- How do I make and use an outdoor oven?
I am getting goats and honeybees next spring. Since I have no experience with either, I will get a book to help me with their care. I also have a camping cookbook. It contains simple recipes, and was a nice addition to my library.
**IMPORTANT NOTE: I have information listing the “shelf life” of the foods I have stored, and how I can identify when the food is no longer safe to consume.
I have included all forms of protection in this section.
- Heating and cooling
- How do I use and maintain my oil and kerosene lamps?
- How do I make candles?
- How do I repair shoes, boots, and socks? Don’t forget to have extra shoes and boots, and anti-blister socks. You may be doing a lot of walking.
- How do I make moccasins? (I just added this information. Thank you, James Wesley, Rawles. It had not occurred to me to add this.)
- Can you sew, knit, or crochet? You may want a few patterns to help. Remember your clothes will wear out, and children grow.
- Security: You need to decide what information to include here. Once again, please consult Patriots and popular blogs to assist you with this.
- What do you need to know?
- What might you need to make or build?
- How will you maintain your security supplies?
- The ability to coordinate security with other like-minded groups would be helpful.
Please excuse my vagueness. I am sure you understand my reasons.
This is one area where a book or books will probably be necessary. I have books on basic and extended first aid; natural remedies; and booklets on asthma, which a few members of my group have. Remember, having a medical professional is best, but you may not have that luxury.
- How do I make a homemade electrolyte drink?
- Which foods and herbs have medicinal properties, and how do I use them?
- What vitamins and supplements have healing properties? How do I use essential oils?
- How do I recognize different types of infections, and which antibiotics cure them?
- How can I heal infections without antibiotics? How do I care for a wound?
- How do I stitch up a laceration? Can you diagnose common ailments?
- Can you make a splint? What blood type does each individual in your group have?
- Which blood types are compatible with which types? You hope you never need this, but you may. Be prepared. Minutes count.
Many illnesses are a result of poor sanitation. Make sure you are not a victim of this.
- What will you do if your indoor plumbing is not functioning?
- Can you build an outhouse, composting toilet, or other alternative?
- Do you know how to make soap for dishes, laundry, and personal hygiene?
- Do you know how to obtain the ingredients for your soap? Can you make lye?
- Do you know how to render lard? How will you wash your clothes?
- Do you know how to clean without store-bought cleaning products?
- Do you know how to make homemade baby wipes?
- Do you know how to make cloth diapers for any infants?
Communication will be crucial when TEOTWAWKI occurs. Once again I will be vague.
- Keep written information on how to maintain and repair your communication equipment.
- The ability to coordinate communications with other like-minded groups would be beneficial.
It is important that we are able to quickly and efficiently move from one location to another. You may need to go on foot, by horse, or in a vehicle. Can you maintain and repair all of your vehicles?
- This includes everything from changing a tire to engine repair.
- How do you get fuel, and how is it best preserved?
- Do you know how to care for your horses or other transportation animals?
- How do you look for signs of a problem?
- Do you know how to shoe your horse, or care for the hooves?
I have manuals for the maintenance and repair of all of my vehicles.
Although it is not how-to information, I keep an ongoing list of items I have which may be used for bartering purposes.
The stresses of life can be difficult in the best of times. When TEOTWAWKI happens, we need to pay special attention to our own emotional health and the emotional health of our group members. This will be different for each person and group. Here is the list of supplies I have included in the “I’m Bummed” section of my binder to assist with cheering us up.
- A pocket-sized Bible (This is also part of our BOBs.)
- Inspirational books
- Books for entertainment and enjoyment
- Board games and card games
You could list all of the books, movies, CDs, and games you have. I have not chosen to do this. I have each of these in their own place, so we always know where to find them.
- I have a list of fun, old-fashioned games, and the directions for them.
- I included recipes for some special treat foods that may be mood-boosters. These include easy, eggless cakes, cobblers, and cookies; and few-ingredients candies and icings.
Review your binder often, and laminate any documents that may need to be protected from the elements. (Will they get wet, bloody, or greasy? If so, laminate them or put them in plastic sheet protectors.) I try to think of how my grandparents and great-grandparents lived, (think Laura Ingalls and the Waltons and throw in a little Walking Dead for TEOTWAWKI good measure) then include this information in my Survival Information Binder. Every week I find more information that I need to add. By spending just a few minutes every few days on the Internet, I discover a new topic or skill that I feel is necessary to add. Sometimes I find a better resource for things I have already included. For instance, sometimes I find a better diagram that I include with the topic I already have covered.
Have someone who is unfamiliar with the task, read the information you have written. This person can tell you if you are being too vague or confusing. If so, make revisions. Do not argue with them. What is obvious to you was not obvious to them, and so it may not be to others either. Remember, you want the information to be simple enough to follow during a very stress-filled time. Do not let your ego get in the way of the survival of your loved ones.
Basically, your Survival Information Binder (or binders) has all of your how-to information in one easy-to-get-to place. Label and organize it in a way that is useful to you and your group members. You might even assign each member of your group to make his or her own section of information to include. I hope this article will inspire you to write down your information, and organize it in one convenient place. Have fun and make it your own, personal resource. May God bless you as you prepared for our unknown future.