This is a general guideline I came up with to help my prepping. While you may have a specific event in mind to prep for, such as tornados, there are others that can affect you. They can be minor, such as a power pole knocked down by a car accident causing a short-term loss of power or as long and destructive as an EMP or Solar Flare.
LEVEL I (most common)
- Man-made events (including fires, vehicle crashes, derailments, chemical spills, etc.)
- Natural events (storms, flooding, etc.)
EFFECT: Loss of the “normal grid” of stores (food), water/sanitation lines, evacuation from or damage to home, no medical help, no power ( no heat/refrigeration) no ATM or card readers, no police/law enforcement.
RESPONSE: (“The Seven Sisters”)
- Food: 72 hours to 2 weeks of non-perishable food on hand
- Water: 72 hours to 2 weeks of water for drinking, washing, and other needs.
- Shelter: Home/safe haven or temporary shelter on way to either.
- First Aid/Hygiene: Well stocked kits/supplies of soap, paper goods, etc.
- Alternate Power: Flashlights, radios/batteries, lanterns, heaters, generator.
- Money: Cash on hand before, during and after if needed.
- Self-defense: Start with passive (doors/locks) and have some level of active defense (pepper spray/firearm) ready depending on your area and how long the event lasts.
This should also include plans and gear for getting back home or to your safe haven from work, shopping, etc.
LEVEL II (less likely but possible)
DURATION: 0-4 wks.
All of above plus computer virus affecting banks,
stores (ATM’s debit and credit cards), electrical and water/sanitation systems
All of above if electricity/water/sanitation affected. No normal
banking, bill paying, shopping (gas/food) possible. Possible effects
on communications (cell and land line phones)
All of the above plus 2 more weeks of food and water. Also increase active self-defense measures as each week goes by to possibly include booby-traps, etc. Expect looting and other violence after 1st week and probably by 2nd.
LEVEL III /APOCALYPSE (least likely, but still possible)
DURATION: 4+ wks.
- Economic/ governmental collapse
- EMP/Solar event
- Nuclear (plant meltdown/limited exchange).
This also includes any serious disruption of order in the major cities/ supply chains, etc. due to terrorist attack, unrest, etc.
All of the above worsening until tipping point at about four weeks. If there is not, nor can be any major recovery effort by this point, especially with the basic food, water, and sanitation the situation will descend down into chaos and collapse.
If a Level III event is confirmed, switch to total self-reliance (“pull up the drawbridge”) have plans to try and gather family. Be prepared for serious violence after 2 to 4 weeks, especially from mobs. Break out all weapons, etc.
This will call for serious supplies of food and water on hand (90 days or more) and means to get more “after the dust settles” (gardening, hunting, trapping, recovering from ruins, etc.)
The general rule of thumb for a post- Level III event is two weeks (or more) of hunkering down. Once it is safe to be outside, re-organization of the local area and defense against disorganized mobs of starving people will be the priority for two to four weeks. After that, only the hardcore looters will be alive. Once your area is secured, recovery can begin. Water and food systems can be developed.
The two-week time frame can vary due to the type of event. Radiation (Nuclear exchange) and disease (Pandemic) may call for four weeks or more before life “outside” can be resumed with any degree of safety. A government or societal collapse, however, will affect your going outside a lot less depending on your area’s distance from the cities and how secure (local defense groups) it is.
If you are just starting out in prepping, I suggest you work up to each level as your budget and situation allows. Start with 72 hours, then one week, then 2.
I’ll be posting articles to help you along the way to prep with the least cost, the least amount of space, the least effort, and the least time needed.