Full Spectrum Preparedness and the 5 C’s of Survival

Full Spectrum Preparedness and the 5 C’s of Survival

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

In the quest for preparedness, we constantly face the challenge that Albert Einstein discusses above. How do we approach the exceedingly complex topic of preparedness and survival in the way that makes it as simple as possible. We’re not geniuses here at Prepography by any stretch of the imagination but we do think that we have done a pretty good job creating and expanding the concept of Full Spectrum Preparedness (FSP). We’ve tried to develop a comprehensive approach to preparedness in as small a form as possible. Additionally, FSP is a scalable approach that can be used equally well whether you’re building a Bug Out Bag (BOB) or a survival retreat. Just because we’re partial to the concept of FSP does not mean that other approaches are not valid or worth considering. This is especially true when making sure FSP is as simple as possible, while remaining comprehensive. Recently, I have been looking at a more simple preparedness model and how it relates to Every Day Carry (EDC) items, as well as FSP. This concept is called “The 5 C’s of Survival”

10 Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness

Before going any further, let’s do a quick review of the 10 Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness

  • Security Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge necessary to keep your family and provisions safe.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge necessary to protect you and your possesions from the elements.
  • Health (Personal), Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Everything needed to keep you and your family healthy.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge necessary to support your family’s transportation needs.
  • Family & Community Support: Building family and community networks and ties focused on helping you prepare for, and live through short or long term emergencies.
  • Financial Preparedness: Wealth; as well as the ideas and skills to help building and protect your wealth.
  • Food Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge for food gathering, preparation and storage.
  • Water Preparedness: Items, skills and knowledge for gathering, purifying and storing the water necessary for health, hygiene, sanitation or other purposes.
  • Communications Preparedness: Items, skills, techniques and knowledge necessary to maintain communications within your family or group as well as with the outside would.
  • Cognitive, Mental & Spiritual Preparedness: Developing and incorporating preparedness skills and knowledge, as well as the ability to adapt, the mental strength necessary to persevere and faith in a higher power; fostering the “will to live” through even the toughest of times.

What are The 5 C’s Of Survival?

The fundamentals of FSP cover many topics, each interacting with the others to create a protective web about one’s life. As stated before, it is a scalable concept. It’s easy to see how it scales up. The question is, how does it get scaled down? Can the idea of FSP be made to fit in your front pocket? Well, maybe not in your pocket but certainly in your pockets and your head. When starting with the idea of Every Day Carry (EDC) items, it does provide us with a base to start with.

You can spend literally $100’s of dollars on EDC doo-dads and trinkets to fill your pockets . You can go out on the internet and find 100’s, if not 1,000’s, of links with people giving their advice on what you should carry at all times. According to the 5 C’s of Survival it’s as simple as counting to 5. There are five areas that should be covered by Every Day Carry (EDC) items that you should have on you, or immediately available at all times. They don’t have to break your budget, and they fulfill well over half of the FSP fundamentals. To remember what they are , all you need to remember is “The 5 C’s of Survival”; Cutting Tool, Combustion, Cordage, Cover, and Container.

(Note: The examples bullet pointed below are not all-inclusive, and are presented to give the reader a broader understanding of the FSP concept)

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #1 Cutting Tool

You should have some sort of cutting tool on your person, or in your pocket whenever you can. From day-to-day use, to an emergency, the ability to cut things is a must. Your cutting tool can be used for a myriad of things from cutting cordage, to tangled/stuck straps, to kindling, and beyond. It can be used to help create a shelter, as well as gathering food and water. As a last resort, it can even be used for protection. Optimally, you want a good quality folding knife in your pocket, or fixed blade on you belt, or around your neck. In a pinch, though you can use a lower quality, less expensive cutting tool, like a folding credit card knife. Remember having something is better than having nothing.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: Lashed to a pole, or used in your hand, a knife can protect your life.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Cutting material for a shelter or making primitive clothing.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: First aid uses, such as removing splinters or cutting bandages.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Cutting the material to create a travois.
  • Financial Preparedness: A good quality knife can be a useful barter item
  • Food Preparedness: Used on a spear, or as part of a trap for hunting, as well as preparing caught/gathered food.
  • Water Preparedness: cutting items used as a container for gathering and storing water.  Creating tinder to start a fire for water purification.
  • Communications Preparedness: Light reflected of a polished blade makes a good signal

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #2 Combustion

The biggest threat in a survival situation is often the environment. An unprotected person can die from hypothermia in a matter of hours. Having the ability to start a fire is a must. The easiest method is to use a lighter. Carrying around a disposable lighter gives you the ability to start a fire in an instant. Flint and steel, strike anywhere matches, and hurricane lighters allow you to create a life saving fire under the most adverse conditions. Even a magnifying lens can be used under the right conditions to create fire.  You can spend money on expensive fire starting kits, or make one yourself, on the cheap. Whatever route you take, be sure you know, and practice how to use it. Having to learn in an extreme survival situation is a recipe for disaster.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: For eons mankind has huddled around the light of a fire in the dark of night for security from predators.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Smudging a primitive shelter to clear out bugs or drying wet clothes.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: First and foremost, a fire will keep you alive in a survival situation by warming a dangerously cold environment.  Incinerating waste or the infectious dead.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Fire for wood gasification or steam, as well as making a canoe.
  • Family & Community Support: Again, mankind has gathered around a fire for a sense of community or evening of storytelling for all of our existence.
  • Food Preparedness: Preserving food through smoking or cooking meals.
  • Water Preparedness: Purifying water through boiling.
  • Communications Preparedness: A signal fire can be used to mark one’s position for rescuers.  Charcoal can be used for writing.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #3 Cordage

Having some sort of cordage on you, or immediately available, is an easily, and oft-times over looked thing. A length of good quality cordage, like say 550 para cord, can come in handy in many ways. You can use it as lashing for creating a shelter. Game can be caught using it as a snare. It can be used for first aid as a tourniquet or to keep a splint in place. There are 1,000’s of more uses for it; your imagination is the only limit. One thing about cordage and EDC. It looks out-of-place carrying a 10 foot coil of 550 para cord on you waist. It’s an easy problem to fix, though. That 10 foot length can be braided in to an 8 inch paracord bracelet. You can make a belt, which would be somewhat fashionable at this time, with over 100 foot of para cord.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: Cordage can be strung with hanging cans filled with rocks as a warning system.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Tied between 2 tress and length of cordage can hold up a tent, or tarp for shelter.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Tourniquets and splints can be made from cordage.
  • Transportation Preparedness: Use a length of cordage as lashing to hold equipment while traveling.
  • Family & Community Support: Games and toys can be made from cordage.
  • Financial Preparedness: Barter items could be made.
  • Food Preparedness: Snares will trap small game for food or hold foods while drying for storage.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #4 Cover

Out of the 5 C’s of survival, this one, and next are probably the hardest to carry on your person as EDC items. Cover entails having sort item that will protect you from the elements. The cheapest and simplest, which is also carriable is a mylar space blanket. They fold down into a small 3×5 inch package and will help ward off hypothermia. It can be wrapped around your body, used to reflect the flame from a fire, and even in combination with the cordage you are carrying to create a shelter. That aside, it is always smart to keep an extra blanket and change of clothes in your car or stashed at work.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Security Preparedness: Concealing your shelter will increase your security.
  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: Tents, tarps, space blankets all help protect you from the elements.
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Staying out of the elements will help you keep your health up.
  • Family & Community Support: Communal living helps create a sense of community.
  • Financial Preparedness: Extra clothing can be used as barter items.
  • Food Preparedness: You can protect food preparation with a blanket or tent from the elements.
  • Water Preparedness: Water can be gathered with tarps and blankets that are used for cover.
  • Communications Preparedness:  Tarps and blankets can be used a ground signals to attract rescuers attention.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – #5 Container

The last of the 5 C’s of survival is having a container for gathering and carrying water. Preferrably, a water bottle with a filter is the most desirable. Bottles like these are more expensive. They can filter out harmful pollutants and contaminants from your drinking water, though. If you can’t spend the money on something like that, the next best thing is a metal water bottle, with a braided cordage lanyard, of course. You can boil water in them; purifying it for drinking. Plastic bottles will work, also. You will need to take in consideration how to purify your water, though. Like everything else on this list; having something is better than having nothing.

FSP Fundamentals Covered:

  • Shelter & Clothing Preparedness: You can extra clothes clean and dry in a larger enough container
  • Health, Fitness and Medicine Preparedness: Keeping hydrated and cool by drinking water is essential.
  • Food Preparedness: Water gathered in you container can be used to clean, prepare and cook food.
  • Water Preparedness: Keeping clean water is essential towards survival.

The 5 C’s of Survival – The Unwritten 6th C

You’ll notice that missing from all the examples of how the 5 C’s interact with FSP is “Cognitive, Mental & Spiritual Preparedness”. That was not an oversight. I purposefully left off examples, because I wanted to highlight this last one by itself. No matter what you may carry, whether it be EDC items, or a full size survival kit, the most important tool for survival is your brain. Not having the skills and knowledge of survival preparedness turns everything you have with you into nothing more than lumps of plastic, leather, cotton, nylon, metal, etc.. Whatever you do, make sure you engage and use this most important tool in your kit.

The 5 C’s Of Survival – Conclusion

As I said, the 5 C’s of survival are considered the bare minimum you should have on your person, or close at hand, everyday. They each cover multiple aspects of disaster preparedness. If you are prudent, the chances of you being in a situation where you will need them to survive are really kind of small. If you are following the FSP doctrine at home, in your car, and elsewhere, then the 5 C’s of survival are already covered and in a much better and more methodical manner. At the end of the day, though, not having any one of the area’s covered, by not having these items on your person, or close at hand, could spell the difference between life or death.

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