Many survivalists and preppers make an understandable, yet dangerous mistake: They assume that the world will come crumbling down while they’re comfortably sitting around the house.
They stuff their basements with enough tools, gear and supplies to last a decade, and they make plans for any hazards that may threaten – including several contingencies for unexpected challenges.
And while it is certainly wise to stock your home with all of the things you may need in the case of a natural disaster or civil unrest, these types of SHTF scenarios are just as likely to occur while you are at work or running errands around town as they are while you are home.
In a worst-case scenario, this could leave you completely unprepared to contend with a major, life-changing emergency. Accordingly, you’ll want to take the time to prep and stage your office and car, so you’ll be ready at all hours of the day and night.
We’ll help you get your car and office ready for any emergency that may present itself below.
Getting Your Car Ready for Action
Because you will probably be relatively close to your car if a disaster strikes while you’re away from home, it makes sense to prepare your car first. Start by employing the following steps:
Create a Basic Bug Out Bag for Your Car
You probably won’t have the room to store a full-blown bug out bag in your car, but it makes sense to set up a scaled-down version of one to ensure you’re prepared. Try to keep the size of the bag pretty small – something about the size of a bookbag would be perfect.
Store all of the basics inside. This should minimally include:
- One complete change of clothes
- One pair of walking shoes or hiking boots
- Two gallons of water (this should last you two to four days, depending on the temperature)
- About 4,000 calories worth of granola, nuts or protein bars
- A basic first-aid kit
- A spare cell phone (be sure to keep it charged)
- A multitool
- A knife (be sure to follow all local laws regarding blade length, etc.)
- Lighter or matches
- Large tarp
- Emergency blanket
- Poncho or raincoat
- A firearm (follow all local laws regarding concealment, etc.)
- Extra ammunition
- Map of the area
There are certainly additional items you could bring, but this isn’t supposed to be a full-fledged bug out bag – it is only supposed to help you survive for a short period, while you make your way back home.
Be Sure to Have a Roadside Emergency Kit
Car trouble is never fun, but it could put your life in jeopardy if it occurs during civil unrest or some type of natural disaster. So, you should always try to be as prepared as possible to deal with mechanical problems. Unfortunately, modern cars aren’t as user-serviceable as those of decades past, but there are still plenty of problems you can fix on the side of the road.
Minimally, you’ll want your emergency roadside kit to contain:
- Jumper cables
- Flares, LED hazard lights or triangle reflectors
- At least one quart of oil
- A gallon of pre-mixed antifreeze/coolant
- Basic tool kit or multitool
- Canned tire inflator
- Portable air compressor
- Tire pressure gauge
- Four-way lug wrench
Prepare for Fuel Shortages
One particularly troubling scenario that you’ll want to consider is a fuel shortage. The last few decades have shown us that storms and geopolitical events can disrupt gas supply routes under otherwise-normal times – it’ll surely be even harder to fill your tank if society is truly collapsing or natural disasters have caused widespread blackouts.
There aren’t many ways to prepare for your long-term fuel supplies, aside from using a vehicle that will run on non-conventional fuels, such as plant oils. Eventually, the gas stations will run out of fuel, and your car will cease being a form of transportation. However, you can take a few steps that’ll leave you better prepared.
You don’t want to store extra fuel in your car unless you can safely attach Jerry cans or some other approved containers to the outside of your vehicle (and even this is pretty risky). Keeping a gallon of gas in a plastic container in your trunk is definitely not advisable.
So, one of the best options is to store a bit of extra fuel on your property, in a safe and approved container. Be sure to set up the reservoir in a safe place, away from your home. And it’s not a bad idea to camouflage or obscure the tank in some other way – you don’t want the tank attracting the attention of passersby, who may also need fuel.
Be Proactive About Your Car’s Maintenance
One of the best ways to set yourself up for post-apocalyptic success is to ensure that your car stays in proper running condition. Always get your tires rotated and oil changed and make it a habit to keep your fluids topped off. And don’t forget to check the air pressure in your spare periodically.
But more importantly, take your car in for a general inspection once a year. Have the technician inspect all of your car’s major systems – particularly those that feature parts that wear out, like your belts, brakes and clutch. If the technician notes any problems (or any impending problems), have them fixed immediately.
Preparing Your Office for the Worst
Once you are satisfied that your car is ready to rock in the case of a disaster, it is time to turn your attention to your office. It can be tempting to rely on your car’s bug out bag while you are at work, but a million things could happen that prevent you from getting to your vehicle, so you’ll want to be able to go directly from your office toward safety at a moment’s notice.
Some of the basic things you’ll want to do include:
Stash a Basic Bug Out Bag in Your Office
Create another scaled-down bug out bag (just like the one you made for your car) and stash it in your office. As with your car, you’ll need to limit the amount of space you use, so focus on the most important items. In most respects, it could be a carbon copy of the bag you keep in your car.
Just be sure that you realize that this bug out bag will be accessible to others, including your employer, coworkers and custodial staff. This means you’ll need to avoid keeping anything dangers (such as firearms) inside the bag. You don’t want to jeopardize your job in the name of preparedness.
Note that you’ll likely be wearing dress clothes to the office, so you may want to stash a second set of clothes (in addition to the one in your bug out bag) somewhere in the office. This will help you move more quickly and effectively during challenging conditions.
Always Store Bad-Weather Gear at Your Office
While you’ll only have a limited amount of space in your office bug out bag, you will probably have a bit of extra room in your office to store a raincoat and/or heavy overcoat in case the weather sours while you’re at work. This is just a good idea to implement for everyday life, but it also makes sense when trying to prepare yourself for a natural disaster.
In fact, if you can, store a pair of rubber over boots in your office, as well as a good winter hat and a scarf. And for that matter, a couple of pocket hand warmers won’t take up much space if your desk, yet they’ll be invaluable if you have to make a quick getaway in cold weather.
Plot Out Multiple Routes You’ll Likely Need in an Emergency
In the event of an emergency, you’ll need to get the heck out of Dodge in a hurry, so be sure that you familiarize yourself with the best routes you could use if need be. Your home will be your most likely destination, but it also makes sense to plot out routes to the nearest (and most prudent) interstate, as well as the local hospital, your spouse’s workplace and your kids’ school.
However, you don’t want to identify a single route to these places. Emergencies have a way of clogging up roads and blocking common thoroughfares, so be sure that you identify multiple routes to every important destination. It’s a good idea to have a paper map stashed in your bag, with multiple routes highlighted. This way, you won’t be depending on electronic GPS devices or mapping software, if the power grid is disabled.
If you carpool or rely on public transportation to get to work in the morning, you’ll need to plot out routes that would be viable while you’re on foot. Be sure to note potential shortcuts, as these will prove invaluable in a true emergency.
Leverage the Ready Availability of Electricity
One of the best advantages your office provides is the ready access to electricity. The power may go out once an emergency occurs, but your office will have easily accessible electricity on a day-to-day basis.
Make sure you always take advantage of this by keeping a cell phone and any other electronic devices charged. The same could be said of your GPS, rechargeable flashlight and any other electronic devices you’re likely to need in the event of an emergency. If you plan to use rechargeable batteries for anything, you can also leave these charging in your office until you need them.
Consider Setting Up a Close-Circuit TV System You Can Monitor from Work
Intelligence is one of the most important resources you’ll want in a SHTF scenario. By setting up a monitoring system for your home, you may be able to learn key details before heading out the door.
For example, you may have trouble contacting your family if some type of disaster happens. But, if you have some way to monitor your home from your office, you’ll be able to see that your family is safe and sound at the house. Conversely, you may be able to note that your oldest child hasn’t yet made it home, which would tell you that you need to go home by way of his or her school when you leave.
Similarly, if the threat is a wildfire or flood, you could likely determine the status of your home without having to physically inspect it. This may save you valuable minutes or hours and alleviate the need to go out of your way – you can simply move directly to safety.
Learn Your Office’s Safety Procedures and the Location of Key Resources
Most large offices will have emergency evacuation plans available for your review, so take advantage of these. This will not only tell you how to get out of the building in an emergency, it’ll let you know how everyone else will be trying to get out of the office too. This may help you avoid crowds or likely bottlenecks and figure out an alternative route to safety.
You should also familiarize yourself with the locations of important safety supplies, such as fire extinguishers, defibrillators, flashlights, first aid kits and similar items. These types of items will not only prove helpful in a disaster, they could come in handy on any given day at the office.
You may not be able to store as much equipment or as many supplies in your car or office as you could your home, but it makes sense to take whatever steps you can to prepare yourself for potential emergencies. This way, you’ll be better prepared to deal with a natural disaster or civil unrest, no matter where you are when it happens.
Always be sure to think through the likely scenarios you’ll face so you’ll be ready for anything. For example, if you live in a region prone to earthquakes, consider how a big tremor may alter your plans. Similarly, if you live in an area that is subject to wildfires, think about how this will affect your attempts to get home.