I wrote this before the events in Greenburg, Kansas. Therefore, how to survive becomes even more immediate. In addition to the individual survival materials below, I will add some info about community food banks and survival preparation. Here is the official FEMA instructions for geographic regions and community plans: FEMA.
Awhile back I posted a bit of trivia regarding the aftermath of the Great San Francisco Eathquake. Someday that quake will repeat. If you live in another geography consider flood, hurricanes, tornadoes, massive power failure, stranded in the snow or even terrorist attack. How do you plan so that you and your family will survive?
If you have the storage space, put away 15 gallons of water per person and non - perishable food for a minimum of three days, a month is even better if you have the space, (then rotate this so that the oldest is at the front). This might end up under water or earth, so you will still need to survive. Therefore load your car as follows:
Braided nylon rope (25 feet)
Matches (2 boxes)
Poncho (bright orange to attract attention)
Candle (wrapped in aluminum foil)
Paper and pencil
Fishing line, hooks, split shot leads
Money (2 nickels, 2 dimes, 2 quarters, $20 bill: helpful for making phone call or paying for gas if broken down along highway)
Garbage Bags (2 large size bags)
Bright orange surveyor's tape
Dental floss (It's strong and useful as thread for sewing, or a fishing line or for lashing branches for improvised shelters.)
Wire (bailing wire)
First Aid Kit (Also see Lightweight First Aid Kit)
Sterile pads (2 x 2 and 4 x 4)
First Aid Tape
Honey Packages (available in small foil packages available at convenience stores)
Instant Soup or tea (a couple packages)
Again if you have space consider a few pop top cans of stew/chili
Compass (learn how to use)
Coffee Can (1 lb size) or nylon stuff bag
All contents except the plastic bags and the optional items will fit in a 1 lb coffee can. (Or you can flat "Spam" cans or oval-shaped containers available at outdoor stores.) The plastic bags can be affixed to the outside of the can with a rubber band. To keep things from rattling in the can, wad up some wax paper and stuff it around the items. The wax paper stays dry and also doubles as a fire starter. To save weight the contents can be placed in a stuff bag and a metal cup can be used instead of the coffee can.
The State with probably the single best emergency preparation for citizens is Utah. Again because of religious dictates, they prepare for six months of survival. For items included in home preparation kits, refer to Relief Society Emergency Preparedness