When talking about the first 24, preppers mean the first 24 hours immediately following an emergency. The first 24 are spent hunkering down at home, getting out of town and arriving to a safe destination or spending overnight in the elements. The most important things you need in the first 24 hours are water, fire and shelter. Food is not a necessity in the first 24. You will not die of starvation within 24 hours. People can live up to three weeks without eating. However, you could die of exposure.
To survive the first 24, regardless of the situation, I borrow from survivalist Dave Canterbury’s Ten C’s of survival. The first four are the most important; a cutting device, combustion, cover and container.
Dave recommends a knife with a 5-inch fixed full tang blade. This size allows you to perform a variety of tasks without being unwieldy to use. I like the SaberCut from Ultimate Survival Technologies because of its affordability and cordage wrapped around the handle.
For warmth, signaling and to boil water, you will need to start a fire. Carry a waterproof lighter or matches, or a fire starter. The Zippo emergency fire starter kit includes its own tinder.
Emergency blankets and shelters fold up compactly in your pack and maximize heat retention so you stay warm. In addition, the shiny reflective material can double as a signaling device.
You need a container to collect and hold water. A metal container or canteen is ideal so you can put it directly on the fire to boil water. I also suggest adding a water purifying straw. I recommend Coghlan’s Jumbo Sierra Cup is made of metal with a stay-cool rim and will hold two cups.
For more on surviving the first 24, here are the top 10 essential guides:
- Five Survival Reasons for Knowing How to Start a Fire
- Six Tips That Will Save Your Life
- Create and Stock a Safe Room
- Shelter in Place
- Survival Strategies: “Bugging In” vs. “BOV” vs. “Take a Hike”
- Resilience and Building the Survivor Mindset
- Taurus First 24: Superior Go Bag
- Finding Alternative Sources of Water
- How to Survive a Cold Spring Night Outdoors When You Least Expect To
- Ammo Can 72-Hour Bug Out Kit
If you missed our Essential Preppers Guide to Building a Bug-Out Bag, you can read it here.
What do you have in your pocket or bag right now that will get you through the first 24? Share it with us in the comment section.