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Preparing for a crisis

Preparing for a crisis

"When crisis comes" is a concept that has become very tangible and relevant lately, even though it has actually been significantly important throughout history, long before pandemics and wars. Regardless of how new the concept may be to you, it is high time to take steps towards a more conscious and prepared everyday life. When it comes to crisis and home preparedness, that's the key - being aware and prepared!

Let's talk about crisis preparedness

Preparing for an emergency or shortage situation does not mean it's imminent. It rather means that IF it were to happen, your chances of coping with various difficult situations would be much better. Whether it's war, a natural disaster, terrorism, or even everyday situations like a power outage and contaminated drinking water, your preparations and knowledge may even become crucial for your survival.

Below, we have gathered tips on how to get started, but above all, how to think about crisis preparedness and preparations. As support for this article, we have the founder of Garphyttan, Johan Skullman, who has over 30 years of experience from the Swedish Armed Forces and extensive knowledge in various outdoor activities, a qualified survival expert as we call him. In addition to developing Garphyttan's products, he also conducts training with a focus on safety awareness, including crisis preparedness and first aid.

Please note that this article is based on the Swedish society, its calls to action, and expectations during a crisis. If you are located in another country, we recommend that you review the local agency's for crisis preparetions.

General advice & tips

Start by establishing your own crisis plan based on the idea that you and your family should be able to manage for 3-7 days, both at home or when you have to leave it, perhaps you are already elsewhere. Prepare so that you have water, food, heat sources, and communication aids at home in case of a power outage or a more extensive crisis.

Communication

Make a plan with predetermined meeting places for your loved ones in case you cannot reach each other. If mobile phones and the internet don't work, it's good to have important phone numbers written down. Perhaps you can borrow a working phone or go to a place where you can make a call.

Make sure you have access to an FM radio and set your local P4 frequency, where information is shared when something happens. Have a battery-powered radio at home in case electricity and the internet don't work. The society's information number in case of major accidents and crises is 11313. You can call them around the clock if something serious happens. On the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency's (MSB) website krisinformation.se, you can also find well-organized information.

During an ongoing crisis

Follow advice, instructions, and directives from authorities and your municipality. It's important in the larger context that these are faithfully respected!

Indoor heating

Be careful when handling fuel and open flames indoors. Place candles far away from flammable materials like curtains and do not let them burn when you sleep. Also, do not place different types of outdoor and camping stoves on a countertop with cabinets above, or near the kitchen hood as it may risk catching fire. Above all, ensure good ventilation in the space you are in! When using different burners with high output, a lot of oxygen is consumed, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning - a treacherous poisonous gas that can quickly lead to a life-threatening situation where you feel tired and quickly fall asleep, a sleep you cannot wake up from without help from outsiders.

Prepare your crisis equipment

Make sure to prepare supplies and equipment for the whole family, containing basic needs for 3-7 days. It's not as complicated as it may sound, your outdoor equipment provides an excellent foundation, even in crises where quick relocation becomes necessary. Below we give you advice on what your "crisis equipment" needs to contain.

Food and liquids

Food and water are essential for survival, not just during a crisis. It is recommended to fill 5-10 liter water containers and calculate about 4-5 liters of water per person per day. Also, fill small bottles that you can easily carry with you and that facilitate regular drinking. Food that can be stored at room temperature is preferable since refrigeration may not always be available during a crisis. Water and other pre-mixed drinks should be stored cool and dark.

Liquid containers:

  • Water containers, 5-10 l (preferably with tap)
  • Bucket with lid
  • Drinking bottle, 2x0.5 l
  • Thermos, 2x1 l
  • PET bottles
  • Water purification filter (e.g., Grayl)

Liquids:

  • Powdered drink
  • Powdered milk
  • Rehydration solution
  • Juice concentrate
  • Tea, coffee & chocolate drink
  • Water purification tablets (Micropur & Puritabs)

Cooking set:

  • Burner (e.g., Primus, Optimus & Trangia)
  • Fuel
  • Pots
  • Frying pan
  • Coffee pot
  • Cutlery
  • Windshield
  • Matches, lighter & fire steel

Food:

  • Freeze-dried food (e.g., Real Turmat)
  • Canned food
  • Pasta, rice & grains
  • Root vegetables
  • Nuts, nut butter & chocolate
  • Honey, oil, jam & marmalade
  • Energy bars (e.g.m Real Turmat)

Medical care and hygiene

Having access to basic medical equipment and hygiene products is important for managing minor injuries and maintaining personal hygiene during a crisis. Plastic bags are of great importance, among other things, to water-/moisture-proof important papers or matches, but also to use during toilet visits when the toilet is not working. For the smallest children, cloth diapers in wool can be considered! In addition to arranging a good "house pharmacy," we recommend taking a qualified first aid course.

First aid knowledge:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Clear airways
  • Stop bleeding
  • Handle shock

First aid materials:

  • Latex gloves
  • Respiratory mask
  • Tourniquet
  • Hemostatic agent
  • Bandages, steristrips, or similar
  • Painkillers
  • Stomach/diarrhea (Imodium Plus & Dimor Comp)
  • Allergy
  • Specific, personal medication

Self-care:

  • Desinfection & cleaning
  • Intimate hygiene
  • Oral & hair care
  • Hand & foot care

Self-care products:

  • Soap/alcohol gel/hand sanitizer
  • Shampoo/Dry shampoo
  • Toilet paper
  • Pads, tampons & diapers
  • Wet wipes
  • Blister plasters (Compeed & Optiplast)

Protection and warmth

Keeping warm and protected is crucial, especially in cold weather or after a serious event to prevent shock. Tip: With a tent or tarp set up indoors, you get a smaller space that is easier to heat up.

Protection:

  • Tent
  • Tarp/windshield
  • Emergency blanket

Warmth:

  • Warm clothes
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Hot water bottle (as a heater)

Tools & other aids

Make sure to have a basic set of clothes and other equipment ready to be packed in a large backpack or bag for the cases where you may be forced to leave your home at short notice. The same applies to provisions so that it can be easily and smoothly loaded into a car.

Tools and aid:

  • Knife with fire steel, saw, ax, multi-tool (Mora knife, Nordic Pocket Saw, Hultsbruk/Hultafors, Victorinox)
  • Can opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Radio, crank & solarpowered (dynamo/battery)
  • Batteries
  • Dynamo charger or power bank
  • Games (deck of cards, Yahtzee or similar)
  • Important phone nu,bers & "alarm list" written down (notepad + pencil)
  • Kerosene lamp + fuel
  • Headlamp, flashlight
  • Tealights, candles

Personal

Own belongings:

  • Cash
  • ID documents (driver's license & passport)
  • Information about ongoing events and society's responsibilities from Swedish authorities.

Practice your skills

If there's something Johan Skullman wants to emphasize, it's the importance of mastering basic survival skills, such as making fire, purifying water from a lake, and being able to handle a knife, saw, and ax. Regularly practicing "survival" is nothing but a safe way to handle an emergency situation and also a good way to discover outdoor life, which often happens in positive forms, Skullman argues.

The step between outdoor life and crisis preparedness is smaller than you think. The equipment needed in emergencies to ensure water, food, and warmth is simply the same as the contents of a well-composed outdoor equipment. Being out in the woods and practicing various outdoor activities is therefore good and fun training in handling your equipment and yourself, something that is very useful in a crisis situation. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you are already halfway there!

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