Recently in the news we have been witnessing a lot of natural disasters. Earthquakes and volcanoes along the entire Pacific Rim, floods in the east of Texas and now it seems that the volcano that Yellowstone National Park is sitting on is starting to stir.
In past articles I have talked about creating a “Get Home Bag” which you can use as a good foundation for a Bug Out Bag.
You can read that article here – http://raygano.com/your-office-bug-out-bag-get-home-bag/
But what happens if you don’t have a place to “Bug out” to or really have no desire to leave your home?
I have been in several natural disasters, the biggest being the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that took place in the San Francisco bay area. It wiped out the bay bridge and also caused a collapse of a section of the double-deck Nimitz Freeway in Oakland. The Nimitz was the site of the single largest number of casualties for the event instantly killing 300+ people, when they were caught between the multiple slabs of freeway crashing down on them.
It was during this earthquake that I was hired by FEMA to be a house inspector and had a firsthand look at the damage a natural disaster can create.
Another thing that I learned from this disaster was what was important to people. It was amazing the stories I heard from people who were only given 30 minutes to go in to their home and grab whatever they could and then vacate the home; then to watch it be bulldozed down.
This is when I learned about the 5 gallon bucket.
Living With Earthquakes
If you are from California, then it is drilled in your head where to run to in the event of an earthquake. There were also pamphlets advising people to put together a 5 gallon bucket of “survival needs.” These pamphlets recommended that each person have a 5 gallon bucket that they can quickly grab and run outdoors.
These pamphlets also recommended having camping supplies like a tent, sleeping bags, cook stove, etc so that if the people needed, they could “camp out” in their back yard if need be.
When I was an inspector, it was interesting to see several families who said that they did have their 5 gallon survival bucket and they were glad that they did take those precautions. It really made a world of difference to them. They thought a head and put some things that made the natural disaster a little easier.
But what was really interesting is that in talking to these people, what they chose to put in their buckets and what they wished they had put in their buckets.
Out of all the stories I heard from people who had the chance to go into their homes and grab whatever they could in 30 minutes I heard several things that they wished they grabbed but didn’t.
1 – Family Pictures
2 – The Family Bible or a Bible to help them through the hard times.
After the 30 minutes bulldozers literally came through and demolished the homes and people’s lives were ruined.
I remember watching people comb through the debris and they would find a few family pictures. I witnessed one husband combing through his home’s wreckage and found some pictures of his wife. He literally dropped to his knees and held those pictures to his heart like they were gold and cried.
To him they were gold. Not only did he lose his home, I heard that his wife was on the Nimitz during the commute and she did not make it.
Another family I interviewed was so grateful that they were able to get their family bible before their home was demolished. The wife had it with her when I was interviewing the couple and it was the most precious thing she had. She was also glad that they were able to find family pictures in the wreckage, not all, but a good amount to help them remember the happy times and appreciate that they still had family that made it through the quake and then the fires.
Why A 5 Gallon Bucket?
There are multiple reasons to use a 5 gallon bucket.
- You can stack them pretty high
- They are able to take a lot of weight coming down on them
- They float
- They are hard to crush
- If you use a Gamma Lid, they are air tight and pretty much bug proof
First things first, try to find some really good food grade buckets. These tend to be thicker than the standard “home depot” or “Lowes” bucket. Not saying that these are bad, but if you are able to get food grade, that means they will withstand a crushing force a lot more than the others mentioned above.
Next, you want to invest in product called Gamma Lids. These are air tight lids that spin on and spin off. You can wrench them down pretty tight, but you really do not need to do that. I have been using Gamma Lids for years now and they are way better than the standard 5 gallon bucket lid.
There is another product that I am impressed with and that my friend Steve Quayle recommends is a product called the “AirScape Bucket Lid.
Not that 5 gallon buckets aren’t useful on their own, but add in the AirScape Bucket Lid and you just turned “food storage” into “food preservation” -which we all know is pretty critical when it comes to survival.
With the AirScape Bucket inner lid, air is forced out of any 3.5, 5 or 7 gallon bucket so you can properly store whatever you have inside regardless of how full it is. The patent-pending inner lid is lowered to the level of your food or contents so that it is always forcing the maximum amount of air out, keeping food fresher longer. This food storage revolution is great for preserving anything from bulk coffee, flour, rice and beans to pet food and chicken feed.
The negative with the standard 5 gallon bucket lid is that to get a really good seal, you have to use a rubber mallet and then you have to use a special pry bar that looks like a big can opener to open those plastic lids. If you have ever pried a 5 gallon bucket lid off with your fingers, you can lose a finger nail or two in the process. This is why I really recommend getting the Gamma Lids.
Food Grade 5 Gallon Buckets – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Food-Grade-5-Gallon-Buckets
Gamma Lids – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Gamma-Lids
AirScape Bucket Lid – https://www.liquidplanet.com/product/airscape-bucket-lid-case/
Once you have these two items, you are good to go and can start building your 5 gallon survival bucket.
What Equip You 5 Gallon Survival Bucket With
1 – Water – It takes about 3 days without water and your body will start shutting down. This is why water is the most critical.
I like these also because you can put a couple in your pocket if you have to walk somewhere or have them on hand when you are working in a disaster area helping with clean up or what not.
Water Pouch – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Water-Pouch
Next, you probably guessed it…
2 – Food – Yep with water you need food.
BUT… WARNING… Do Not Use MRE’s. You know US Army meals in a bag. They sound like a really great idea, but the big problem with them is that they loose their nutritional value very quickly and expire. SO the MREs you bought at the local gun show, yep no good. Sure you can eat your way to china with them, but you will basically starve with a full belly because the vitamins and such are basically evaporated into thin air.
So what would I do?
Make Your Own MREs With Food That Has a Good Shelf Life
The first thing that you need to get is a FoodSaver. These have got to be one of the best prepper tools a prepper can have. You can do all sorts of things with a food saver and it will help you in a lot of things we will be discussing here with your 5 Gallon Survival Bucket.
Back to MREs…
Go to the grocery store and pick up some of your favorite foods. Deny Moore Beef Stew is one of mine. Canned Smoked Oysters, Crackers, Trail mix, energy bars, etc. There is a lot that you can choose from.
Remember to also get some Handi-wipes, maybe also a microfiber towel and small bottle of hand sanitizing gel.
Next you assemble your food into one of the FoodSaver Bags, add a few hand wipes, the small bottle of Purell and the microfiber towel, then you suck the air out and seal it up.
You have just created a really great MRE as well as including items that will help clean you up.
What you got to remember is that in a disaster situation it is maintaining a positive attitude that will take
Just having the ability to get your hands and face really clean is a positive motivator. This is why I include these items and it is a good idea to put these cleaning items in each home made MRE that you create for yourself.
FoodSaver – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Foodsaver
Purell hand wipes – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Purell-Hand-towelettes
Microfiber Travel Towel – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Microfiber-Travel-Towel
Hand Sanitizer Gel – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Small-Hand-Sanitizer-Gel
Clothing – Stay Warm, Stay Dry
This is where your 5 Gallon Survival Bucket may fill up fast. Clothing takes a lot of room, but you want to have at least one change of good, sturdy clothes so that you can do work in a disaster environment.
IF you are in a colder region, you may want to pack some Thermasilk long underwear. Yes, they are more expensive, but they keep you warmer and they are lighter to carry instead of the bulky cotton ones you normally find.
It is always good to have some sort of head covering like a good baseball hat, stocking cap or both. You lose the most amount of your body heat from your head. IF you keep it covered, it helps keep in the heat. A hat also protects your head from the elements and will cushion a bit if you bump your head against some low hanging branch, or some sort of obstacle you may be crawling / ducking under.
Finally, a good pair of gloves that allow your hands to breathe as well as protect your hands. I like the “Mechanic” brand of gloves. They are meant to take a beating, but they are thin enough to maintain your finger dexterity.
You will want gloves also to do work in a disaster area. You will find yourself helping neighbors and such. We did in the Loma Preita quake. Other reasons are you may fall, need to climb walls or fences, crawl on the ground, move debris, a number of things you may encounter where you may need to clear obstacles with your hands. Doing something like that when your hands are not used to it, and without gloves, your hands are going to look pretty chewed up. So make sure you protect them with a good pair of gloves that you can really work and maneuver in.
Thermasilk Pants – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Thermasilk-Pants
Thermasilk Shirt – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Thermasilk-Shirt
Mechanic Wear Gloves – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Mechanics-Gloves
Battery Operated Items – Light, Radio, Communications
During the Loma Preieta earthquake we were without power for four days. We were lucky that we had running water, other parts of the city did not. But we did fill our tub and filled as many containers with water just in case.
Things that make a difference is having light. Light and fire are motivators. This is why it is important to have light sources in your 5 gallon Survival Bucket.
I was recently turned on to a great little product that I have to say that I am impressed with. They are the MPOWERD Luci Original Inflatable Solar Lantern.
They are …
- Solar powered
- Inflatable and Packable
- And Waterproof
They run about $15 a light and they cast a lot of light for such a little lantern.
Because they are collapsible and can be easily packed, they are a great addition to your 5 Gallon Survival Bucket.
Luci Lantern – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Luci-Solar-Lantern
I am also a fan of having a good flashlight. If you have read some of my other articles, I love my Fenix tactical PD35 Flashlight with a light capability of 850 Lumens. This is a great light to have for your 5 Gallon Survival Bucket because they run off of CR123a batteries, which will last years. I know that my light still has batteries in it from two years ago and it still shines. These cost about $65.00 but they are meant to take a beating, can be dropped in water, you name it, these Fenix flashlights are built tough. That is what you want when you are in a disaster situation. Something that you can depend on.
Fenix Flashlight – five brightness levels – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Fenix-PD35-Flashlight
We have several of these, in fact we have one for our car also. These are great little flashlight, radio, cell phone chargers. They have a hand crank and also are solar powered. So you can charge your cell phone off of it. It will take some time, but you will have power to the cell phone.
Safe-t-Proof Radio – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Solar-Powered-light-Radio
It is a good idea to have some sort of battery powered AM FM radio so that you can hear what is going on. I remember during the aftermath of the earthquake we were glued to the radio keeping up on what is going on, the aftershocks, the fires, the power and water outages, etc. It is during a time like this that you will really be glad you have a radio.
- Receives AM/FM/Weather band
- USB smart phone charger
- Hand turbine and solar powered
- LED flashlight
Now the negative on this radio is that it is on the large size, so you need to think about the room it will take up in the 5 Gallon Survival Bucket.
Eton Red Cross Radio – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Eton-Red-Cross-Radio
So we have water, food, light, radio, now we need to start thinking of keeping warm and cooking.
I am a HUGE fan of the Esbit Camp Stove. I had one of these in the army and it is what kept me going. It is a great comfort to wake up in the morning and cook a cup of coffee in your canteen cup when it is freezing cold and the snow is falling. These little stoves run off of these little tablets that you light and one will heat up a about a cup and a half of liquid before it goes out. There are other bigger fire tablets that you can purchase, but these worked great for me.
These stoves are small, compact and like I said having a cup of hot coffee in the morning is a great motivator.
Esbit Stove – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Esbit-Camp-Stove
As I mentioned before light and fire are a huge motivator. Just having a fire that can help keep you warm does wonders for the emotions and stress levels. This is why it is important to have multiple means to make fire in your 5 Gallon Survival Bucket.
First – Storm / Weather Proof Matches – these are a great thing to have. Small and compact. They also come in their own weather proof box that has a striker on the side.
Storm Proof Matches – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Storm-Proof-Matches
Second – Swedish Army FireSteel 12,000 Strike Fire Starter – These are great to keep on your key ring or just about anywhere. The throw off 2,980-degree C spark in any weather, at any altitude. These are also approved by International Survival Instructors Association
Swedish Fire Steel – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Swedish-Fire-Steel
Finally – Bic Long Stem Lighters – HEY… keep it simple and just light a fire. This is why I like these. You can reach this into a fire kindle bundle and get the fire going. No fancy Rambo stuff, just pull the trigger and light the fire.
Bic Long Stem Lighter – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Bic-Long-Stem-Ligher
Duct Tape & 550 Para Cord
As you may know, all men love duct tape and I am one who believes that the world is held together with copious amounts of duct tape. So what is the duct tape I choose? None other than “Gorilla Tape.” This stuff is tough, lasts and when you tape it, it ain’t coming apart. There are so many uses for this stuff in a disaster sort of situation. I have some in my first aid kit and also a roll in my bug out bag. This is truly an indispensable item that can really make the difference in just existing and actually doing well in a disaster sort of situation.
I recommend getting the large roll to keep in your 5 Gallon Survival Bucket and a smaller Gorilla Tape To Go in a first aid kit like I have.
The other go to item that many people have is something called 550 Para Cord. It is called that because the cord can hold 550 lbs. What is great is you can pull out the innards and separate the smaller cords into threads and use them for fishing, tying things, bind things together, there are a 101 uses for 550 para cord. Get a 1000 foot roll and cut a 100 ‘ for each family member to keep in their 5 Gallon Survival Bucket.
Gorilla Tape – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Gorilla-Tape
Gorilla Tape To Go – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Gorilla-Tape-To-Go
550 Para Cord – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-550-Para-Cord
Hunting, Fishing & Weapons
One of the things that we had for all the family were sling shots. All the kids had one and it was a lot of fun to go out and plink at cans. One day my son decided that it would be fun to shoot dad and I am telling you, that rock hurt badly. Talk about putting an eye out, you can do that big time with a sling shot.
An all around hunting slingshot is what I would recommend for your 5 Gallon Survival Bucket. The difference between a hunting sling shot and a standard is that a hunting sling shot usually has multiple band or rubber tubes vs a single band or rubber tube.
The Sunwon® Hunting Slingshot is a good choice and for $6.00 you can’t go wrong. Get everyone in the family one of these and keep them in their buckets. In fact it is cheap enough to get everyone two each so there is one for the bucket and one to practice with.
Sunwon Hunting Slingshot – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Hunting-Slingshot
Now this may be a blast from the past for some of you but how many of you remember the Ronco Pocket Fisherman fishing pole? This is a spin cast fishing pole the folded up and you could keep it in your glove compartment, at the office in a desk drawer, and yes even your back pocket if you were wearing painter pants or some sort of cargo pocket.
I am a huge fan of these because as hokey and they seem, they are really great little fishing pole that allow you to fish city steams and culverts as well as ponds and small lakes. These really do work and you would be amazed that you can really catch fish with these.
HEY… You won’t be profiled on ESPN using this rod but the fun level on this rod is extremely high. Its well made, convenient to carry, seems to be repairable (pops open) if needed. I always say that the best fishing rod (or gun) sitting in a case at home is worth nothing compared to something like this in the car being used at the spur of the moment.
The great thing is that these are small enough that it can fit in your 5 Gallon Survival Bucket and not take up that much room.
This is one of those items that I would also recommend also for a bug out bag.
Ronco Pocket Fishing Pole – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Ronco-Pocket-Fishingpole
As many of you know, I am a knife person and partial to big tactical lock blade knife that Cold Steel makes. I think that you need to outfit everyone with a really good knife.
Don’t go with the cheap Chinese lock blades. If you are in a disaster situation you and your family all need to be carrying something that their lives can depend on.
This is probably my most favorite knife because it is so versatile. I admit that it is a freaking pocket sword, but this knife has come in handy so many times that it is my go to Every Day Carry blade.
The great thing about the CS Voyager Clip Point XL is that they are really affordable. You can pick them up at Amazon for around $39.00 you can get a work horse of a knife. I literally use my to cut steak as well as hack down tree branches and such. I use it all over the ranch and once you break it in and can flick it open, it gets a lot of attention.
Cold Steel Voyager Clip Point XL – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Voyager-Clippoint-XL
Packing Odds and Ends With The FoodSaver
The Foodsaver is a great tool to help you vacuum seal individual bags. These can be personal items, photos, first aid packs, homemade MREs. If you want to keep it safe and dry, then vacuum sealing these things with the Foodsaver is a great idea.
Here are some things to possibly give you some ideas on how you can use the Foodsaver more effectively besides just food.
Personal Papers, Copies, etc – Make copies of your driver’s license, credit cards, passport, birth certificate, etc and put all these in a vacuumed seal bag. It is a good idea to put some cash in with that as well as put some American Eagle Silver Dollars or even some American Double Eagle Gold Coins.
Get all these together and you then vacuum seal it all so that they are air tight and will last.
FoodSaver – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Foodsaver
Renaissance Precious Metals – http://www.sqmetals.com
First Aid – A good primer to First Aid is my article on Creating A Custom First Aid Kit For Your Family. You can read the article here…
Creating A Custom First Aid Kit – http://raygano.com/creating-a-first-aid-kit-suited-to-you-and-your-needs/
In this article I recommend a smaller kit for your car with some add-ons. Here are some quick links to that kit and some of the add on items.
You can also use the Foodsaver and pull out all the items from a store bought kit and add to it the items listed below and make your own vacuumed sealed first aid kit.
Coleman First Aid Kit – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Coleman-First-Aid-Kit
Israeli Compression Bandage – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Israeli-Compression-Bandage
Military Issue Combat Application Tourniquet – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Tourniquet
Quick Clot Blood Clotting Agent – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Quick-Clot
Family Photos – As I mentioned earlier in the article, When I went through the 1989 SF earthquake, this was one of those “I wish I thought of that” items.
So many people lost their homes and personal possessions. On top of that, they lost friends and loved ones. The idea of family photos all of a sudden become a big deal.
For those few who thought of taking family pictures, these were also a great comfort and is the second most priceless item on this list.
Get a good number of family pictures and using the Foodsaver, you can create a “memory pack” with pictures, family tokens, little things that will warm the memories in a time of disaster. Vacuum seal them up and they are there to help when people are missing the days gone by while living in a disaster.
The Need For A Good Bible
If I had to grab and go and could take only one item, it would be my bible. There is more knowledge, comfort and answers in this single book than all the supplies one could take. This is the most priceless item on this list.
You want to have a good sturdy bible that will hold up. I have had several good bibles in the past but none have held up like my large print Thompson Chain Reference KJV. This is a preacher’s bible and they are built to take a beating. I love my Thompson’s and it has served be very well.
I also like the Thompson’s due to being able to really dig into the Word and study it. There is a great cross reference system that the Thompson Chain Reference is known for. SO if you want to do a word study or any sort of study, you can do that with the Thompson Chain Reference.
Thompson Chain Reference KJV – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Thompson-KJV
Now understanding that we are building a 5 Gallon Survival Bucket, I was recently given a great bible which is made for the jungles / high humidity climate. It is the Waterproof King James Bible.
- Extremely Durable Synthetic Pages Sewn and Glued into Spine 100% Worry Free
- Stain Resistant
- Ultra Clear Text
- Ideal for Gear Bag or Backpack
- Dry Highlight
- Write and Underline with pencil or ball point pen
- No Bleed Thru
- F L O A T S
The durability of the Waterproof Bible gives you the freedom to take God’s Word with you anywhere – lounging, traveling, exercising… with worry free confidence that your Bible will withstand the test of time.
Waterproof King James Version – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Waterproof-KJV
I look at what has happened in Japan and I often wonder, these people know they live in earthquake country, why don’t they prepare? Why don’t they at least put together a 5 gallon Survival Bucket.
Now looking at the floods in Houston, I have to admit that it was not expected and Houston has not flooded like that in a hundred years.
But, if people had a 5 Gallon Survival Bucket, which floats, I believe that it would have helped those who got displaced from their homes and possibly would have made a difference and raised moral a bit.
If you live in an area where natural disasters take place, then take the time to put together a 5 Gallon Survival Bucket, you and your family will feel so much better knowing that you have these ready to go.
Take what I have recommended and look at building your own custom 5 Gallon Survival Bucket today. Don’t wait, you don’t know if there is a natural disaster waiting around the corner from you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org