How to Survive Terrorist Attack



Surviving Terrorism


© copyright 2005, by Gary Benton

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With the threat of a terrorist act happening in American being very real today, it is wise to prepare. No, I am not suggesting we all get paranoid, but simply prepare. See, in survival, the big key is being prepared. If you have your equipment ready and your mind prepared, your chances of surviving are greatly increased. Not to mention the fact that you are usually much more comfortable if prepared.


When acts of terror occur, they usually happen when we expect them the least. This surprise comes from the fact that as Americans we have lived pretty safe lives in the past, and also because terrorist's plan it that way for maximum affect. The less people suspect an act of violence, the more damaging the results. This is especially true of the psychological affects. Remember the terrible feelings all of us experienced when we first heard of the attack on the Twin Towers? Most of us felt deep shock, confusion, anger, and a very profound fear. Those feelings are exactly the type of psychological responses a terrorist hopes to achieve with an attack.


I believe most professionals who deal with terrorists, well tell us that it is only a matter of time before we are subjected to more attacks. An attack could affect our water supply, our fresh foods, and even the air we breathe. As the cowardly attack on New York demonstrated, terrorists have a very vivid imagination. An attack could consist of any conceivable weapon at any location. So, just what can we do to prepare our homes and loved ones if something should happen?


Start getting ready now, not tomorrow. Remember what I said above, an attack will most likely happen when you least suspect it. Take a look around your house. If you live like most people, you have many things you can use for emergencies on hand right now. But, do you have special clothing, canned foods, first aid items, battery or self powered radio, or other things that could be placed in storage for emergency use? Don't get paranoid and put all you own in the closet for emergency use, just those items you seriously don't use much. Limit it to items you may need later. Also, remember, most of the things I am listing here you already have in use in your household.


What types of things should you consider storing? I have broken it down to some very simple items. Keep in mind, each household has different supply requirements and the purpose of this article is to get you thinking about an emergency. One of the things you need to consider is the needs' of yourself and your family. If you have a handicapped member, or a person with special needs (i.e. medication or special care), you may have to evaluate your situation much closer than most people. But, for most of us we need the same things we need to survive in the bush.


Food is always on the top of most people's desires during survival. I know most of it is psychological, but regardless, the desire is very deep in all of us. Food leads us to feeling content and that all is well around us. I prefer to keep Meals Ready to Eat, MRE's, on hand. I ate them by the hundreds in the military and they are actually quite good. I keep the complete meals on hand, because I eat them a little at a time to get the maximum enjoyment out of one pouch (the meal lasts longer that way).


Other options are air-dried foods, they last a long time and are cost affective. I recommend them for those who wish to feed more than two people and for those who want a large quantity of a single food item they may prefer.


Freeze dried foods are pretty good too, in my humble opinion. The only drawback to them is the water needed in preparation. If your water source is limited freeze-dried foods are not a wise choice. Never eat dehydrated foods without lots of water on hand, your body will take water from your system to process waste. You can find all different kinds of menu items offered commercially.


One last area I want to suggest you evaluate is a B-4 unit (Basic 4 food groups, wheat, dairy, sugar, & salt, necessary for meal preparation), which has various food items in large #10 cans. Also, you can buy canned goods in bulk at any supermarket and keep the cans boxed for easy storage. I usually buy veggies, canned meats and fruits in cans. As long as I don't have to pack them very far and can stack them to the roof, I go for the bulk foods.


Regardless of the type of foods you prefer, remember to maintain a healthy diet. Make sure you get as close to the daily minimums as you can (keep vitamins stored too). Actually, if you can afford to do so and have the storage space, go beyond the daily minimums. If you can store the foodstuffs, why go hungry? Plus, remember, in a survival situation we tend to burn more calories just attempting to stay alive.


Once our food problem is behind us, we can start considering what I feel is our primary concern, water. The first step here is to procure several large water storage containers. Depending on the number of people you are responsible for you will need to evaluate your water needs carefully. Most survival professionals will recommend a bare minimum of a gallon a day. You will need much more if you plan on cooking and washing in it, or if the temperature goes way up. Make sure your water containers are designed to store water in and are not discarded chemical containers. Mark each container in large letters, WATER ONLY. Store only water in these containers.


Another tool you will need to have on hand is a water filtering system. A chemical attack on your primary water source may prevent you from being able to use it, so you may have to use water from ponds, lakes, or streams. There are many different types of filters available and at various costs. The key here is, once again, the number of people who will need good clean drinking water. Remember, filtering systems will not protect you from nuclear fallout or some types of chemical agents. If you believe you have sustained an attack in one of those two categories, use pre-stored or packaged (canned, bottled or in bags) water.


Prepackage water is sold in different quantities. I have seen water sold in pouches, plastic two liter bottles, and in cans. The size of the container may vary, but most survival pouches or cans are around ten to twelve ounces. I recommend everyone have some prepackage water placed in storage as a precaution. It is relatively inexpensive and it could become your only source of clean, safe, water. Once again, you need to evaluate the number of people and their water needs.


Finally, my old favorite, water purification tablets. I keep a bottle in my survival vest, in my tackle box, in my truck, and in the house. They are easy to use, just drop two tablets in the water container, usually a canteen, but check on the label to see how much water the tablets treat. An old vet trick here, add a little flavored drink powder to your treated water to mask the chemical smell and taste.


Let's see, we have food and we have water…I think our next concern is clothing. If an attack happens with no warning, you may have to react very quickly. You may have set aside a portion of your basement, garage, or other area for emergency storage, so you need to store special clothing items there. You may not have the time to look for jackets, rain gear, or special boots. Keep what you need stored and never use it for day-to-day use. Keep in the mind, all the equipment there is for emergencies only. Aren't your day-to-days clothes good enough? Nope, not at all.


I feel that survival gear should be tough and comfortable. That is why during most of my outdoor trips I wear military surplus or heavy jeans. I have discovered that cheap imitations of military gear fall short in the long run. I wear some of my old Battle Dress Uniforms (BDU's) and they are perfect. Remember, BDU's have been proven tough, even in combat. I don't plan to fight any wars anymore, but that makes them strong enough for most survival situations. Jeans are good too, but usually are too tight and restrictive, compared to BDU's . Also, with jeans you don't get all the pockets to put survival items in. Another added incentive for me to buy BDU's is the low cost when compared to jeans.


Other clothing requirements will depend on where you live. If you need rain gear often, then have it available. If your area gets little rain, then decide on what you do need. Consider socks, underwear (perhaps long and insulated), parkas, gloves, good quality boots, and the list goes on. It all situations have a cap, a wide brimmed hat, and at the very least, a nylon windbreaker. Even the desert can get cold at night.


The biggest key to survival clothing, is making sure what you store is tough and comfortable. If needed, and in a pinch, you can use sheets, blankets and rope to make some additional items of clothing. Nope, I agree, you won't win any best-dressed awards from Hollywood wearing it, but you can survive with it. If needed, you can always do like our forefathers had to do if you don't have it on hand, make it. Keep your imagination moving and active!


What about cooking? Yep, we are back to food once more. You have the stored foods, but how can you prepare them? Well, hopefully your electric or gas stove will still work. Determine in advance if you have a separate tank of propane for your gas stove. You should know that by the bills from the company that periodically fills the tank. If you have a tank, the odds are it will still work. However, depending of the target of a terrorist attack, you may be without electrical power or a source of gas for cooking. If this is all that happens then you don't have much of a real problem, except one of comfort (and perhaps the loss of some refrigerated foods). That is as long as you are prepared with the items I discuss. Make sure before using ANY gas appliance you check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, do NOT us any open flames. Do not use a charcoal grill or other open flames in the house or in a closed space, ventilation is required to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.


The MRE's we discussed above can be eaten uncooked and so can many of the other our emergency food items. While not very palatable or appetizing, they are safe to eat. I, however, always had a problem eating MRE's cold. They seemed to give me indigestion and heartburn. Each individual is different, but they can be eaten uncooked with no serious side affects.


I recommend that you use the perishable food from the fridge first. Save your canned or stored foods for later use if need be. Use the meats, veggies, and other stuff way before you hit your survival items. Also, if you have ice, place foods in a container before they thaw completely out. They will stay high quality longer if they are stored in a good quality ice chest before they are thawed out.


In your inventory sheet for your survival items be sure and list what you think are the bare necessities. Consider plastic or normal ceramic plates (not paper), eating utensils, pots, pans, drinking glasses, cups, and any other special items you may want. I suggest these items because in today's society many people live off of paper plates and the microwave. Remember to include a can opener, or you will have to discover an alternate method of opening and most are messy. Many of the item's you may need can be taken from your normal day-to-day utensils, so you will not have to purchase them. This will also keep your cost down. Nonetheless, list what you have on hand.


If you are without a stove, you may have to cook outside, if it is safe to do so. I would never cook indoors with an open flame due to the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. I just don't feel it is worth the risk. I will write other articles on outdoor cooking, as well as fire starting, and you will find them in future updates of the Survival, Search and Rescue Web Site. Make sure you use good fire safety sense and control your fire.


Ok, let's look at sanitation and waste methods. All of us will need to use the toilet at times, but you may use it less often in survival situations. For some medical reason the production of human waste is slowed down when the diet is reduced and stressed is increased. I could get into why, but all you need to know is that it is normal for most of us. Nonetheless, you have to prepare for human waste disposal. If your water is working, all is great. If you water source is not there, you may have a slight problem.


I suggest you store a portable toilet with your survival items. No, it is not really needed, but many men, women and children, just do not like alternate methods. You can buy a toilet commercially, or go back in history and make a honey bucket. A honey bucket is a large bucket used to collect human waste. It can be a mop bucket, or an empty coffee can. Regardless of which choice you make, sooner or later, someone will be forced to empty the thing.


Make sure human waste is not discarded along rivers, streams, lakes, or other potential sources of drinking water. Select a spot that is a good distance from your living area. In the old days in Europe, before gunpowder was popular, the flight of an arrow was considered a good distance for toilets. And, that was only popular and followed by a select few.


You can buy biodegradable toilet tissue, sanitizing chemicals, and other accessories as you feel the need. Remember, if need be a magazine or newspaper can do the same job as tissue. Yes, I am as concerned about nature as the next person, perhaps more so, but we are talking about survival here. If you centralize your dumping spot, it will be easier to clean up your waste once the emergency is over.


One last item and I will get off of my soapbox. A list of additional miscellaneous items I think would be helpful.


A portable radio with extra batteries or a Solar or wind-up powered one.


Condoms for water storage, unlubricated.


Good quality blankets and sleeping bags (make sure they are adequate for your temperature zone).


Any prescription medications your family may need. Make sure you check the expiration dates. Talk to your doctor about special needs you may have.


A good professional type first aid kit, with booklet or manual. You may be the only medical help available in an emergency.


A good survival manual or book (I recommend one from our service branches or the British SAS). Videos are great too, but they are of no use if you are without power.


A magnesium fire starter, along with some type of tender (cotton lint from the dryer).


Several boxes of waterproof matches and a lighter.


A small waterproof match container that can be carried in a pocket. This could come in handy if you have to leave the survival area looking for food or water.


Any special needs items you or your family may have in an emergency (medication or diet concerns).


The lists of items I have suggested in this article are just that, suggestions. In no way am I suggesting this list is complete for any and all emergency survival situations. I want you to think about what you need. While each individual is different and unique, so is each family. Keep in mind; you may have to improvise to survive.


In today's uncertain world, we are susceptible to terrorist acts from a single person or large groups. We face the risks of the types of attacks history has never seen before. Our choice is simple, we can live in fear and cringe each time the power goes off, or we can be prepared. We can prepare by storing what we will need and preparing our minds on how we will survive. Once the emergency hits, while others are attempting to buy what they need in crowded stores, if they can find one open, we will be comforted in knowing we have what it takes to survive. Be a survivor of terrorism.


Survive Terrorist Attack


Gary Benton has over 45 years of outdoor experience in camping, hiking, fishing, and other activities. He's no armchair survival man, he's walked the walk from the arctic to the desert and all the area in between. Gary has an associates degree in Search and Rescue, Survival Operations, a B.S. in Industrial Occupational safety, and all but his thesis completed for a M.S. in Counseling Psychology.
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