While three months’ worth of preparedness may seem like a long time, history confirms that it takes a combination of only a few emergencies for things like power, water and health services to be overloaded and run-down for weeks on end.
For instance, New Orleans is still being rebuilt years later, and Japan was still cleaning up their nuclear meltdown more than six months after the tsunami. Should a severe snowstorm or forest fire cut you off from the grid, it certainly has the potential to last longer than a week. Thus, as you progress in your preparedness lifestyle, you will want to move beyond a short-term plan.
Given that many crisis situations last longer than one week but less than three months, when looking at the most likely possibilities, we at Category Five have concluded that a three-month preparedness plan is the most economical and logistically feasible preparedness plan, yet it still accounts for some of the longer-term emergencies you may face.
Look at what the Northeast is experiencing with Sandy, and you’ll see that one week of supplies may not be enough. More than a week after the storm, getting gas for your car was still difficult and thousands of people still had no power.
When Hurricane Katrina and the Japan earthquake hit, people were YOYO (You’re On Your Own) for close to a month.
If a series of emergencies produced a cascading domino effect, then it may be closer to three months before sufficient “normalcy” is re-established. Thus, we encourage everyone to ultimately shoot for having at least a three-month preparedness plan in place. Category Five has developed the following checklist to build upon our one-week checklist.
Category 1: Water
□ Purchase more water (as much as you can fit and afford)
□ Consider purchase of long-term water storage containers
□ Purchase a water filter for sourcing surface water
□ Determine closest water source and quality
Category 2: Food
□ Purchase food storage (account for water cooking requirements and special medical needs)
□ Solidify food-sourcing capabilities (gardening, hunting, fishing, neighbor’s orchard, local farms, etc.)
□ Account for rationing in your food purchases
Category 3: Shelter
□ Implement serious upgrades to your shelter (well, garden, extra storage, energy efficiency, backup power, etc.)
□ Get more flashlights, candles, batteries, matches, etc.
□ Purchase more survival items (blankets, sleeping bags, camping toilet, firewood, work gloves, propane tank, etc.)
□ Account for potential season changes (extra wood stored for heat or extra water for extreme heat)
Category 4: Power
□ Get more “spare” cash from bank (small bills)
□ Consider alternative energy sources (create system redundancy)
□ Purchase extra tools (gloves, batteries, etc.)
□ Account for fatigue (purchase board games, books, a Bible, etc.)
□ Increase your knowledge and experience (practicing what you preach)
Category 5: Security
□ Defensive security (firearms, ammunition, mace, Tazer, dog, etc.)
□ Purchase more medical supplies (emergency kit, bandages, pain meds, sun lotion, sleep aids, hand sanitizer, etc.)
□ Account for special needs within your family (diabetes, asthma, etc.)
□ Account for the social dynamics that will change with a three-month crisis (migrations from cities to rural areas, family and friends crowding your door, martial law, etc.)
□ Keep your plans private
□ Build a leadership team
Note: During the three-month planning phase, you will find yourself thinking differently about preparedness. It will no longer be just something that you purchase and set in the back of a closet. It will become part of your daily thinking and planning. It truly will start to become a lifestyle: a preparedness lifestyle.
For more free checklists and information, please visit www.CategoryFive.org.