Did you know the CDC has stockpiled caches of nerve agent antidotes around the country? The CDC (Centers of Disease Control) states that if their nerve agent antidote is all in one place (like Washington, DC, for instance), that it would be too difficult to deploy the antidote in the event that there’s a need for a fast response.

The CHEMPACK antidotes treat the symptoms of nerve agent exposure. It works even if you do not know exactly what nerve agent is causing symptoms.

The antidotes must be administered quickly. The CDC keeps 1,960 containers that are available at the local level, strategically placed in more than 1,340 US cities. The government doesn’t make the exact locations for the Chempacks known. There’s little info available online that I can see that tells where they are.  Take a look at page 10 of this PDF I found and see what region you’re in: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/mtgs/drug_chemical/2008/jstear.pdf

If you want to know more about your particular state or county, start by looking at the state health department website. I had to do some digging, but I found a newsletter online that states, “Oregon is home to several CHEMPACK containers, which are strategically placed throughout the state.” That’s as much info on the location of the Chempacks that I could find. But, the CDC estimates more than 90% of the U.S. population is within one hour of a Chempack location. Do a little digging and see what you can find for your state. Call your local hospital or fire station and see if they will tell you if they have one or not.

On April 11, 2017, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to permit the emergency use of the 2 mg atropine auto-injector, manufactured by Rafa Laboratories, Ltd. On May 23, 2017, FDA amended the EUA to also permit the emergency use of pediatric strengths (i.e., 0.5 mg and 1 mg) of this atropine auto-injector. These products are included in Chempack containers located across the United States. This specific atropine auto-injector is authorized for the initial treatment of symptoms of known or suspected poisoning in individuals exposed to nerve agents or certain insecticides (organophosphorus and/or carbamate).

Pretty much all the online resources of Chempacks all link back to this one page: https://www.cdc.gov/phpr/stockpile/chempack.htm

Photo from blogs.cdc.com. First responders prepare for Chempack training.

We talk a lot on this site about gear, survival skills, and general preparedness. But that’s focused on adults. I’m lucky in that my 10-year-old son enjoys and wants to do “survival” type stuff. I trust him with a hatchet. He’s allowed to use some of my husband’s tools like the dremel for polishing and grinding and he likes to make “zombie weapons” by nailing nails into board and stuff like that.

He promises me they”ll only be used on “zombies and humans if I have to,” he says. And I believe him! Why? Because preparedness and self-defense are ongoing topics of conversation in our house that we include him in.

Let’s just imagine for a minute, if you lost track of your child in an outdoor setting, would your child know how to survive and be found alive? I’m not 100% sure my child would be. So I’m going to work on teaching him some of these skills that I consider basic for a child to be found alive.

  1. Situational Awareness

Just knowing that you are coming upon a potentially dangerous situation can go a long way toward saving your child’s life. Practice observing the world around you and engage your child in that conversation. If you see something that you’re keeping an eye on, let your child in on it too. They need to learn what to look out for.

2. Fire Making and Signaling

At this point my son doesn’t have his own bug-out bag but I’m working on making him one. He’s been young enough that he was under the protection of the adults in the house and didn’t have his own gear. But he’s old enough now that he can take on that responsibility. One of the things he knows how to use, and likes to use, is a magnifying glass to start a fire. He also knows that he can take a piece of mirror or glass and make a light that is bright enough to be noticed from afar.

3. Wariness of Strangers

The world is such a different place now than it was decades ago. Now, I no longer consider it safe to go up to any adult who happens to be around and ask for help. Most experts used to tell children to seek out a policeman. But that was when neighborhood officers were commonly standing on streetcorners or cruising down side streets. That’s no longer the case. Children are very unlikely to find a police officer when they are in need of help. The common advice now is to direct your child to look for a woman to help them, and in particular, a mother if they can find one. Statistically, women are more likely to not be a threat and to actually be helpful.

My son has memorized our phone number and address and whenever I’m asked to give it he pipes in and gives it for me. but he also knows not to give that information out unless he really needs to. My son also takes karate, and he believes that he could “take a creep down” if someone messed with him. The reality is though, that no child can overpower an adult unless they get extremely lucky. So they have to rely on their wits and not their bodies.

Teach them about rescue workers. If your child has been taught so strongly to avoid strangers, they may avoid a rescue worker, particularly if the child is very young. The bright lights they carry, the noises, the gear may make the rescue worker look even more frightening. That’s not a stranger to avoid.

4. Stay Put or Seek Shelter

When does it make sense to leave the area where you are and when does it make sense to stay? Try to actively discuss these possibilities with your child. If there’s a structure nearby, or a thicket of trees that can provide some shelter, it might be good to stay. If not, seeking that out makes sense. If they stay where they are and they’re in an outdoor setting, there’s less likelihood if them getting lost, getting injured, or going far away from where they are, which can make searching more difficult.

5. Teach Them How to Use Some Basic Gear

When it is age appropriate for your child, teach them how to use a whistle to attract help. Give your daughter or son a small knife and teach them the concepts of safety with the knife. Pack a small gear bag for your child when you’re hiking, camping or even to have at home. Here’s what is recommended for children:

  • Card with their emergency information and someone to contact – With everyone keeping numbers in their phone, many children don’t memorize the numbers of important people in their lives. If the phone is dead, they won’t be able to call anyone.
  • Whistle
  • Signal mirror
  • Emergency blanket
  • Hand warmers – older kids may be able to start a fire safely, but these will help keep younger ones warm.
  • Flashlight that is durable (in case they drop it) and doesn’t rely on batteries.
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Pouches of water
  • Basic first aid kit – All kids know how to use bandaids and ointment.
  • Map of their area – This might help older kids.
  • Depending on their age you might include firestarter gear, paracord, and other small useful objects like a water filter.

Adults tend to think that we can handle everything and of course that means we’ll take care of our kids in an emergency. And, there are some things we may think that kids aren’t ready to handle. Is emergency planning on that list for you? Children actually need, and many want, information about what they should do in an emergency. Kids feel safer when they know what to do. Here’s a list of things to guide your conversation on emergency planning with kids.

Set a place to meet outside your home.
You may designate a trusted neighbor or a shed on your property as a place to meet if there’s an emergency in your home such as a fire or earthquake. If those aren’t practical, designate a nearby street corner as your meeting spot in case you get split up.

Tell your kids who your emergency contact is. 
If your contact is Aunt Martha who lives out of state, make sure your kids have her number and know that she is the person who will relay messages. You and your kids should call her in case you get separated, and she will be the point person to relay messages to others so family members aren’t calling back and forth.

Make sure your kids know who is authorized to pick them up from school.
While you’re at it, check that the kids’ emergency contact card is updated with current names, addresses and phone numbers for people you approve to be with your child in an emergency.

Put some toys, games and books in your bug out bag.
Depending on the age of your children, pack a few favorite toys and games or new games to keep them occupied during what might possibly be long stretches without electricity. A pad of paper and a pencil, a deck of cards and pair of dice take up little space and offer many possibilities. Try to include their favorite games and books that are small and compact.

Include some snacks just for kids.
Grownups may be able to eat powdered peanut butter and unsalted crackers all day long, but kids would appreciate having something just for them that they enjoy eating. The stress of emergencies can be difficult on children, so these little things to give them comfort and familiarity really help.

Practice calling 911 with your kids
Don’t actually call 911, but show your kids how your cell phone works and how to make a call. Demonstrate how to make an emergency call if the phone is turned off, if the screen is locked, or there is no reliable cell service.

Read on for more information about planning for emergencies when your household includes children.



There are alternatives for catching fish other than sitting for hours with a fishing pole in hand. In a bug out situation, multi-tasking will be of the essence and your attention will be on other chores besides catching fish. With that said, check out some hacks for survival fishing.

Set hooks consist of a line (the inside of 550 cord works sufficiently), hook, sinker and bait. Tying the line off to a branch hanging above water needs to be adjusted according to its depth. Ensure that the line is strong enough to hold fish until your return, but is flexible enough to give fish play.

You can attach baits to the hook, such as worms, fish, etc. This method is great for most bottom-feeding fish, like catfish. One hook typically yields more than one fish. They tend to the same work as traps and snares.

Trot lines are another method to catch fish without manning a pole. They’re akin to set hooks, but are generally comprised of a long line (top line) with short lines positioned evenly along the long line with a hook attached to each short line.

Hooks on trot lines are baited identical to those on set hooks; the main difference is they’ll have 20-to-25 hooks on short lines that cover a wider area. The ends of the long line are connected to a sturdy tree or other tie-off point at each side of the body of water where the fishing is being done.

Using a boat optimizes this method of survival fishing because allows you to “run” and re-bait the hooks without the need of pulling the line from the water. If you don’t have boat, attaching one end of the long line to a weighted item — such as brick or stone — and throwing the long line into the water will do. Note that this technique is more successful with shorter trot lines since you can conveniently pull it in from the anchor point when checking it.

Fish traps can be constructed by using metal wire and natural materials. This technique is like a basket with a bait or attractant in the center and a narrowed down opening that enables fish to get inside the trap, but not escape out easily.

A host of variables are available here with fish traps, as they go from basic to high-tech in their build. If you want more fish, this method is preferred over set hooks or trot lines. They’re a better alternative if you’re in a bug in or stationery location and expect to remain there for a longer period of time due to its lack of maneuverability.

Natural poisons is a technique used strictly in a survival situation. Natural poisons are done in shallow areas of water to kill a large number of small fish in a brief period of time.

The following natural poisons are toxic to fish, but typically harmless to humans: nut husks from young walnuts; lime (can be made by burning seashells and crushing them up); and a variety of plants (this requires research based on the region you live in).


Children need to understand what’s expected of them in the event of a sudden disaster from a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, or severe storms.

Depending on a child’s age, he or she might know what natural disasters are and that they can injure people.

There are various resources particularly helpful in educating children on how to handle an emergency situation in the event of a natural disaster. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a parent- and kid-friendly website with information on each disaster’s cause.

Communicate a Plan

Gather you kids together and explain the importance of preparation. Elaborate on what natural disasters you’re most at risk for, how to prepare for them, and how to respond in the crisis. Create an evacuation plan that includes two outside meeting places in case your family members are separated.

One of those areas should be right outside your home, possibly near the mailbox. The other should be outside your neighborhood — maybe at the library or in front of the police station if you can’t get back home.

You also need a shelter-in-place plan. Choose a room with the least windows and doors to serve as the safe room.
Communication is key. Have a list of emergency services numbers and the cell phone, school, and work numbers for all household members easily accessible. It’s also a good idea to use FEMA’s downloadable Family Emergency Plan as a reference.

Other factors during emergency planning can be the care of pets, how to turn off utilities, and the disaster plans of your child’s school and your workplace.

Preparing for Disaster

Include your child in the gathering of supplies, food, and gear in the event of natural disaster preparedness. This helps them feel good about participating in helping to protect the family. Adding in your child’s favorite snacks, books, or other small hobbies he or she enjoys will make an emergency a little easier to get through.

Have Disaster Drills

Have disaster drills at home like kids have fire drills at school. Show the kids the drill then have them participate. Depending on which drill you’re practicing, instill in your kids how to warn others of the danger, how to escape from the home, where to meet after escaping, where to “shelter” inside the home, how to contact emergency personnel, and procedures to follow after the disaster. Practice drills on a regular basis then aim to increase speed and urgency once they’re mastered.

There are quite a few ways for you to involve your children in your emergency preparations. Put forth the effort to make planning fun and interesting, and they’ll be more ready to act when time is short.