FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

? How do I prepare for an emergency I know nothing about?

Rule of Threes:

  • can’t live more than 3 minutes without air
  • can’t go more than 3 hours without shelter
  • can’t go more than 3 days without water
  • can’t go more than 3 weeks without food
  • can’t go more than 3 months without hope


Have a backup of your backup for important items. Meaning, have 3 different sources for one idea.


  • Water purifing – 1)boiling, 2) water filter, 3)water tablets.
  • Fire – 1)matches 2)Bic lighter 3)fire-steel
  • Shelter -1)Poncho 2)tent 3)improvised using nature

Survival Firearms:

Survival firearms generally fall in four main categories:

Centerfire rifle – for hunting game, and for self defense.

Should be in a common, easy to acquire caliber. Semiautomatic is highly recommended and military-type models are generally more durable, more reliable, and easier to replace parts on. Make sure to stock plenty of ammo, and magazines, as well as replacement parts. Rifle choice is highly debatable, but some good choices include the AR15 series, AK series, M14/M1A, and FN FAL

Shotgun – For shooting birds, and for self defense.

Shotguns, especially 12 guage, can shoot an extremely wide variety of ammo, everything from slugs, birdshot, nonlethal ammo, and specialty rounds (“Dragon’s breath”). Shotguns are generally very easy for a novice shooter to learn to use effectively, and are designed for close range shooting. Some time-tested designs include Remington 870, Mossberg 500, and Winchester 1300, and many others.

Handgun – For defense.

It is recommended to pick a high-qualityautoloader, in a readily available caliber. Make sure to train with this weapon as often as possible, and to be completely comfortable with it. Handgun choice is a VERY personal decision, so pick the one you are most comfortable with. There are many high quality, reliable autos to choose from. Night sights, and a good holster are good things to have with the pistol. Some good choices are 1911 style pistols, Springfield XD, SIGs, HK USP, Beretta, Glock along with many others.

.22 rifle or pistol – for taking small game.

22 weapons can be shot all day at very little cost, and ammo is very easy to stock up on. There are many North American game animals that can be taken with the .22, and in a pinch it can also be used for self defense, though it is certainly not the first choice. Novice shooters generally respond positively to the low recoil of .22s. Some good choices are the Ruger 10/22 rifle, Ruger MKII pistol, and Browning Buckmark pistol.

Air Powered Rifles and Air Bows

While cartridge powered firearms are most popular and readily available during normal times of peace and tranquility, many over look air powered rifles as an emergency option.  These rifles range in caliber from the well known .177 to 50 caliber.  The biggest benefits to air powered rifles is two fold.  Bullets are much less expensive than cartridge firearms and bullets can be easily cast by the user once simple techniques are learned.  The second benefit is noise.  These rifles deliver enough power to take large game while being much quieter than traditional firearms.  These rifles rival hunting with bows or crosbows but deliver better accuracy and knock-down efficiency.  

Bows and Crossbows

Bows and Cross-bows are sometimes overlooked, but in time of need, these weapons can be both stealthy and effective at hunting game.  Just like air rifles, ammo can be made in emergency when traditional firearms ammunition is not available.

Due to any number of emergencies, you may be forced to leave the area quickly to ensure your safety. This means leaving your place of residence for someplace safer, possibly for a long time. Some or all of your plan may involve “bugging back home” if you already live at a good bug-out location, or work far from home and need to get back before you bug-out.

It is important to have a bug-out destination picked out ahead of time whether it be with friends or family, or to property you own out in the country. Running into the hills to live off the land is terribly difficult and should be avoided if at all possible. Most of the SF members favor survival-homesteading (country- style, self-sufficient living) as the ultimate long-term solution.


BOB is a “Swiss army knife” of a pack that will help you through just about any crisis. It contains gear to keep you alive, and in many cases keep you comfortable too. The common theme for the BOB is for traveling/stranded in a crisis, but each person has their own spin on it. Some members here have only a vest or very small pack to help them get home from work or deal with emergencies. Others have large packs tailored to leaving town and traveling long distances. Most carry at least some form of aBOB in their vehicle.

There is a general list later in this FAQ of areas to consider when building your BOB.


“Bugging-out” usually gets all the glory, but it is not always the best thing to do. Bugging-out requires travel, which is especially risky in a SHTF situation, and it also requires a BO location, which some people don’t have. “Bugging-in” means staying put and doing your best to to live safely and self-sufficiently through a crisis. The better your preparations, the better your chances.

Bugging-in might be a wise decision in some of the following situations:

  • The situation is mild and does not require BO. This could be anywhere from a short power outage on up.
  • You are already at a good location.
  • The situation does not allow you to BO immediately. You will have to BI for a while, then BO later.
  • You don’t have a good location to BO to, but your current location is not the best. Your chances are probably better if you stay put and make the best of it.

Basic Equipment Lists


Some categories your BOB should cover:

  • Water (Can’t live without it)
  • Navigation (Knowing where you are and were)
  • Weapon (Defense/Hunt for food)
  • Food (You need this for energy)
  • Fire (warmth, cooking, water purification)
  • Shelter (Protection from elements, including clothing!)
  • Medical (Addressing/ protecting minor wounds)
  • Signal (To signal/ summon help)
  • Communications (AM/FM/SW receiver at least)
  • Tools (knife, flashlight, multi-tool, paracord, etc.)


Some important areas to consider:

  • Water (both stores and procurement)
  • Food (both stores and procurement)
  • Heating and cooking
  • Security/Defense
  • Communications
  • Power generation
  • Medical


A good starting list for your vehicle:

  • jumper cables
  • tow-strap
  • folding shovel
  • duct tape
  • zip-ties
  • bailing wire
  • spare belt or belts
  • tool kit
  • flashlight
  • jacket
  • gloves
  • spare vehicle fluids
  • fire extinguisher
  • road flares
  • blanket
  • 2 cans of Fix-a-Flat