Ladies & gentlemen, I grew up in a family that lived and breathed the Mormon edict to “be prepared!” My three brothers are Eagle Scouts. We had a shelter custom-built in our basement to store a year’s worth of food for seven.
Yet it wasn’t until I went to grad school that one of my favorite professors finally put the fear of god in me. “What are you all planning to eat during the next natural disaster?” she demanded to know as we covered the emergency preparedness segment of her Organizational Management syllabus. “You sure can’t wait until after the disaster happens to get prepared.” Then she told us to all get guns.
Literally since that day, my husband and I have been on our path to emergency preparedness. If you’re interested in making your own kit, your friendly internet librarian in a bananasuit suggests checking out the Center for Disease Control (CDC), FEMA, and the Mormons, all who have great emergency preparedness resources. There’s even an excellent US Army Survival Manual that’s been floating around on Reddit. And my husband’s and my own personalized list is available here. Any way you slice it, your survival kit should cover these seven essential categories:
3 day minimum supply of 1 purified gallon per day per person
3 day minimum supply of non-perishable high-energy food. Longer term stores of rice, beans, freeze-dried fruits and veggies, seeds
bandages, antiseptic, antibiotics, ibuprofen, etc.
hand-crank radio / flashlight, camp-stove, matches, multi-tool, hatchet, utility knife, compass, whistle, generator, duct tape, etc. And sure, even a gun.
clothing / bedding / sanitation
sleeping bags, space blankets, toiletries, one change of clothes per person
important family documents
wills, deeds, insurance policies, birth / marriage / death certificates, photo identification, bank account numbers
travel games, book of poems, very long novels (one per person)
Because I’m a librarian, I have to give the generically named “Special Items” category a little extra love. During the zombie apocalypse (or any survival scenario), you need to take care of your brain. Remember Sawyer in Lost? It’s important to your mental and physical health to be able to bide your time by reading, playing, and socializing — hence the novels, games and poems. Even the US Army Survival Manual takes pains to point this out. Because our kit is designed to be light and portable, we didn’t pack an entire library, but there a few key books that made the final cut:
|American Medical Association Handbook of First Aid
We thought about adding the Physician’s Desk Reference, but on further reflection: waaay too long. This handbook from the American Medical Association is also authoritative, but much more compact. Perfect!
|Tao Te Ching
We both really like this book, and it’s very slim and lightweight, so it seemed like a perfect choice to add to our kit. For those times we want to read something a little more contemplative & centering.
My husband’s all-time favorite book.
To hit you with two Lost references in one post — I feel like Brother’s Karamazov will be my Our Mutual Friend. Remember? The one Dickens book Desmond is saving to be the last thing he ever reads. I still haven’t read Brothers K, and I’m not waiting for any particular reason — but now that it’s my pick for the apocalypse kit… who knows! We just might be asking for a disaster.
So, what are you planning to read during the zombie apocalypse? As my grad school professor would agree, you might not want to wait till the zombies come knocking to figure it out.