Disasters and emergencies come in all types and duration; everything from the short-term power outage, the longer-term threat of a Category 5 hurricane bearing down on you, to a long-term event like the chaos ensuing from a complete collapse of the economy.
You just never know and realistically can’t be prepared for every disaster. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do what you can to prepare as best you can.
Any natural disaster or other emergency will be chaotic at best and very stressful, so don’t you think it would be wise to be better prepared? Confusion and panic is generally the first emotions felt in an emergency and many ask, “What do I do now?”
If you have a written plan, you’ll have the answer to that question.
You do NOT want to put the lives and safety of your family into the hands of others.
At the heart of all disaster preparedness is the PLAN. You’ve got to plan for the type of emergency you might encounter, you’ve got to plan for the resources you’ll need, and you’ve got to plan for how long you may be in a disaster mode. Perhaps you’ve heard, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Your chances of survival will be dramatically reduced if you have no plan. Conversely, the better planning you undertake now will not only improve your chances of survival in any disaster scenario, but make your overall quality of life dramatically better.
Preparing for most short-term emergencies is pretty straight forward and there’s very little excuse for everyone to be prepared for those. It’s those unpredictable events that are more difficult.
When it comes to planning and preparing for your survival, I recommend you first identify the most likely emergencies you might encounter and then begin accumulating the necessary resources you’ll need, beginning for short-term and building up over time expanding your resources to last longer.
Whatever the scenario, you should have adequate supplies to last a minimum of 72 hours. This is the recommendation of all disaster preparedness organizations such as DHS, FEMA and the American Red Cross.
While 72 hours is the “minimum”, most preparedness experts now suggest you maintain a disaster supplies kit with food, water, medications, fuel and personal items adequate for up to 2 weeks. This takes a bit more effort, but certainly easily within the scope of anybody.
- 72 hours – Begin your preparedness for this time period.
- 2-weeks – As your finances and time permits, add to your 72-hour survival kits to extend your survival for two weeks.
- Longer term – It’s these pesky long-term events that are most difficult to prepare for. More of the unknown and more resources needed. Remember, a long-term plan can easily be adapted into a short-term one. You’ll still need the same stuff to start with – and you’ll still follow the same protocol – but just for a bit longer.
The key to success for short-term survival that’s temporary and local is to plan ahead. Since you won’t know the difference until it actually happens, if you plan for the worst you’ll be prepared for the short-term. You’ll have the gear and supplies that you need to survive temporarily in any location because you will have already planned for a long-term stay.
Then, there’s that question about bugging in vs. bugging out.
Coronavirus introduced many Americans to something they’ve never experienced before: “shelter in place order”. Also called a stay-at-home order, these are orders from community authorities restricting the movements of citizens, ordering residents to stay home except for essential tasks or going to work in essential businesses. In effect, these orders represent bugging in, albeit mandated.
Seems like the duration of many shelter in place orders in the early stage of the coronavirus pandemic was around 30 days. When these orders began to emerge around the U.S., largely unprepared Americans swarmed the stores driven to some of the crazyist panic buying you can imagine. While I normally suggest having supplies for at least 72 hours, the coronavirus pandemic may require having two weeks or up to a month of supplies. If it gets really bad, you may need more.
If this COVID-19 pandemic subsides rather quickly and doesn’t cause too much economic damage, perhaps it will be a good exercise for everyone to test their level of preparedness and to shore up those areas you’re weak in. There will be another crisis after COVID-19 and you’ll want to be prepared.
When it comes to bugging out, you’ll again be faced with the question of duration. A temporary bug out could mean something like you have to go for a few days and stay in a tent at a location you’ve already scouted ahead of time. In this scenario, you need to plan to have enough supplies for at least 72 hours for everyone in your group. When it’s going to be a temporary situation, then you can travel lighter, but only do that if you know for sure that you’ll be able to come back home soon. If you’re forced to bug out for the long-term, you’re going to need a whole new set of skills you likely don’t have today. It’s these long-term disasters that our rural friends (especially those living on a farm) will be much better prepared as compared to us urban dwellers.