Proper clothing before, during and after disaster is very much essential to increase the chances of safety and survival during disasters. Normally, we remain careless or overlook the issue of clothing while we plan for disaster preparedness. The effect of disaster related with water, temperature, cold, wind other mereological disaster directly affect the body functioning. In all these disasters clothing plays the deciding role between death and survival of victims. If some has right clothing and right equipment than his/her chances for survival increases many fold.


The Layer Principle

the Layer Principle says that cloths should be worn in layers. The air trapped in layers of cloths gives more protection than a single layer thick cloth. The layers gives options and flexibility for all climatic conditions. In higher temperature the layers can be reduced and for cold climate the layers can be increased.The care should be taken to protect all body extremities to protect with layers.

All clothing for disasters/emergency must have flexibility to be worn in layers .as overheating of body is equally dangerous ,the clothing should also care for this aspect.These should have option for reduction or increase in the number of layers for wearing in different temperature.

Water Proofing

Water-proofing is as critical as warmth. The best water proofing clothing are synthetic and light weight. It should be rugged also as the water proof  layer is normally word as outer most layer only. It should be able to withstand the vagaries of weather and disasters.

Correct  Layering Techniques

  • Thermal innerwear must be worn closest to the skin.
  • It is always better to wear a cotton inner inside the thermal inner wear. It will reduce the chances of irritation of friction to the skin. It also helps in odor control.
  • Wear a woolen or synthetic cloth shirt over thermal innerwear.
  • The topmost layer should be woolen or any other thermal grade fiber woven cloth, either in form of gown or jacket. Woven fibres are better because it provide better wind proofing, water proofing and physical tear and wear.
  • As outer  layer, a jacket filled with synthetic fibre should be worn. Many people wear downs feather jacket during disasters. It is a wrong practice, as downs feather looses its insulation when it gets wet.
  • The final layer or outermost layer should be waterproof and windproof.
  • This layer should be made breathable either by design modification or fabric selection.This will enable moisture of sweat to evaporate. However it must be wind proof and water proof.
  • A suitable headgear as per the hazard and need of climate 0must be worn. As maximum heat loss occurs through head only,protection and proper insulation of head is must.  Aproper head gear is necessary to maintain proper body heat.


Some major types of clothing used in Emergency management:-


  • Blunt trauma personal protective equipment
  • Bomb disposal suit
  • Chainsaw safety clothing
  • Chemical protective clothing
  • Environmental suit
  • Hard hat
  • Hazmat (hazardous materials)
  • High-visibility clothing
  • Motorcycle personal protective equipment
  • NBC suit
  • Personal protective equipment for arc flash
  • Safe handling of hazardous drugs
  • Personal flotation device
  • Safety harness with clothing



Good footwear has everything to do with survival.  A good pair of waterproof boots will protect your feet from the natural elements (water, heat, cold, snow, etc).  Boots that have flexible soles and deep tread are the best type of shoes to have as far as walking/hiking in nature go.  There is much debate on whether to purchase all leather boots that are fairly heavier or light weight hiking boots.  Several studies have shown that wearing one extra pound on your feet takes as much energy as carrying five or six pounds in a backpack.  Keep in mind of the terrain of the location you will be in to make the right decision of the type of footwear that should be purchased.  There are many reviews of hiking boots to determine what is the best choice.


Socks are vital in keeping the feet warm and free of moisture.  Without a good pair of socks, the feet are susceptible to not only natural extremities, but also susceptible to blistering and other injuries to your feet.  Socks should be matched to the intended type of weather condition and the type of walking will be done.  Whether a person wears multiple pairs of thin layered socks or wears two thick pairs, it is entirely up to the person’s preferences.  But carrying multiple pairs in your backpack or B.O.B. is a good idea.  If one gets worn out, or wet, then there are extras on hand. Try and keep socks as clean and moisture free as possible to prevent fungal infections and other unwanted podiatry ailments.   Always plan and prepare for the worst.

What Type of Sock Should Be Purchased

Like a shoe or boot, your hiking socks should be matched to the type of activity a person will be doing.  According to  things to keep in mind when choosing a good pair of socks.

  • Blood Flow – Good blood flow through the feet must be maintained.  A decrease or cut-off in blood flow can be caused by unyielding fabrics in hiking socks. Acrylics in combination with other fibers and a terry weave can help with this and shear.
  • Moisture– With exertion one foot can sweat 1-2 pints of vapor/fluid per day. That’s why wicking technology in hiking socks is so important. Without it bacteria and fungus can become a problem.
  • Position – If your hiking socks don’t help to maintain correct anatomical alignment this can cause premature fatigue. Correct posture also helps to correctly position your foot in your boot or shoe to make it feel like it’s an extension of your body.
  • Pressure Areas – Pressure can cause discomfort and lead to damage if it’s not addressed. A good example of this is a bedsore. Most people hopefully won’t experience pressure to this degree, but it’s something you want to keep in mind when looking at hiking socks. Padding is especially important around bony areas like the heal and ball of the foot.
  • Shearing Force – This happens when your tissue is moving in opposite directions, like when jumping over a stream, or descending a steep slope. Part of your skin is moving one way and the tissue under it another, this causes a tearing action just under the surface of the skin. This is the most common way of getting blisters.
  • Temperature – Good hiking socks need to be appropriate for their intended use, from a warm weather day hike to a week-long mountaineering trip.
  • Liners– Thin socks called liners are made to be worn under your hiking socks next to your skin so they can wick the moisture away and keep your feet dry. They also can help prevent chafing and increase warmth by wicking when used under heavier hiking socks.

Invest in a good pair of socks,  it’s worth every penny spent.


The layering princle also works with gloves.  According to the Special Forces Survival Guide, mittens are better for heat retention.  Putting a thin pair of gloves under the mittens helps maintain heat if the mittens need to be removed to grab something.  There are also waterproof winter gloves available that have built in pockets to put a heating pack in to also maintain good body heat.  However, if a person is going outside to work, then they would need leather gloves or an insulated synthetic pair that is durable.  A pair of leather gloves can also be “winterized” with SnowSeal, paraffin or seal oil to protect the leather.

Outer Clothes

When outdoors, it is recommended to wear lightweight, quick drying, windproof pants.  Synthetic/cotton gabardine weaves are the best.  These type of pants also have multiple pockets with zippers that are handy for carrying extra items.  There are also pants that convert into shorts for an all weather type of clothing.  However, keeping the extremities warm is the point to keep in mind.

If possible, try to avoid wearing cotton clothing.  Tight cotton clothing that gets wet has a tendancy to hold the water next to the skin which can drop the body temperature as a very alarming rate.  Wool clothing is naturally durable as well as a natural thermostatic insulator that keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Wool naturally repels water and has the unique property of keeping the body warm even if it gets wet.

In the book, The Patriots, Rawles discusses the importance of having the same type of clothes per group as it makes your group more easily identifiable to each other in the case of unwanted vistitors.  Wearing BDUs is a sturdy outfit that is equipped with handy pockets as well as camouflages into a natural background.  Coveralls and overalls are another suggestion of clothing to wear.  This would especially be good to dress children in as they tend to need more growing room than adults.


Never underestimate the relief of a clean pair of underwear when you have not had clean underwear for sometime.   Having clean underwear is also essential to good hygeine.  Buy an extra pack of underwear for your B.O.B as well as some for your long term survival supply.  For kids, buy some packs of underwear that are a few sizes too big so they can grow into it.

The C.O.L.D.E.R Principle

Creating a thermal protection system is essential in surviving in the open terrain.  If a person does not protect themselves against the natural elements, then injury and possibly death could ensue.  Having the proper attire to survive can be an investment, but a necessary one.  Find reviews online to see what type of clothing is the most durable, long lasting and best suited for the area you will be living in.  The U.S. Air Force has an acronym that helps them remember the principles of survival clothing:

C – Keep clothing clean.

O – Avoid overheating.

L – Wear clothing loose and in layers.

D – Keep clothing dry.

E – Examine clothing for defects in wear.

R – Keep clothing repaired.

When you are preparing, you are preparing to survive in any given situation.  Even if the SHTF scenario does not happen.  What happens if your electricity and heat in your home are effected by a bad snow storm and the heat gets turned off for a week.  You and your family must have the appropriate clothing on hand to survive until the heat is turned back on.  Having the necessary clothing packed will keep you prepared and ready to act swiftly in the case of an unplanned emergency arises.