Prepare To Be On Your Own For Seven Days


While the government recommended level of preparedness is currently three days, history tells us that people should really expect to be YOYO (You’re On Your Own) for about seven days.

After a major disaster like the earthquake in Japan or Hurricane Katrina, it takes about three to four days for first responders to get through the rubble and chaos. Then it takes another couple of days for them to deal with high-level emergencies such as those who are dying, rioters, nuclear meltdowns and the like. By the time government and nonprofit organizations can get to the basic needs of you and your family, you will likely find that you have been YOYO for almost a week.

Given that your personal plans will be filtered through your specific geographic location and the type of crisis you believe is most likely to come your way, you will want to tweak the following list to suit your needs. With the foundation of knowing how to prepare at the last minute (Prepping In A Pinch) when you know a crisis is coming, let’s address your next level of preparation when you don’t know if a crisis may ever occur. This now moves you into actual preparedness. While there is some overlap with your last-minute preparations, the overlap is intentional so as to create system redundancy. As such, the following Category Five checklist is what we recommend for you and your family to arrange for in advance for one week’s worth of preparation.

Category 1: Water

□    Purchase water (recommend 1 to 2 gallons per day per person)

□    Fill repurposed containers and store them where available

□    Purchase a water filter for sourcing surface water

□    Determine closest water source and quality

Category 2: Food

□    Purchase food storage or begin food storage rotation

□    Account for water cooking requirements and special medical needs

□    Consider food sourcing capabilities (hunting, fishing, neighbor’s orchard, local farms, etc.)

Category 3: Shelter

□    Outfit emergency kits (Quick Reference Guides available at

□    Purchase flashlights, candles, batteries, matches, other sources of light

□    Purchase other survival items (blankets, sleeping bags, camping toilet, firewood, work gloves, propane tank, etc.)

Category 4: Power

□    Get “spare” cash from bank (small bills)

□    Consider purchase of generator and fuel storage

□    Purchase two-way radios

□    Increase your knowledge base (survival books, Category Five Preparedness Guide, etc.)

Category 5: Security

□    Defensive security (firearms, ammunition, mace, Taser, dog, etc.)

□    Purchase medical supplies (emergency kit, bandages, pain medications, sun lotion, sleep aids, hand sanitizer, etc.)

□    Account for special needs within your family (diabetes, asthma, etc.)

□    Copy important documents (see Copy, Keep, Carry Documents)

□    Establish emergency plans with your family

□    Give document copies to external family

For more free checklists and information, visit

Personal Liberty

Austin Fletcher

is the Executive Director of Category Five, a Preparedness Education Network, and is a prepper at heart. After graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in Global Business Management, Austin spent seven years in pastoral ministry while building ministry and business relationships around the globe. During that time he became keenly aware of the coming financial storm that is upon us today, and has been prepping ever since. For this reason, in early 2009, Austin and his team at Category Five began to change the original purpose of the organization to become what it is today. Prepping is not about being an expert in survival or having experience as a former Special Forces soldier; prepping is about building on the strengths of those you prepare with and educating yourself about things you can control. This is the idea behind the Category Five, and the necessity of a Preparedness Education Network.

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