December 12, 2012 by stark2076
I meet a wide variety of people out in my neck of the mountains. Some are fully on board with being responsible citizens – which means being able to take care of yourself. Some, are somewhat on board but mostly wander along. Some, view being a responsible citizen as a sign you are some sort of a radical. I happen to think this last group is filled with idiots, and I don’t waste much time on them. If they cannot learn the lessons from Katrina and Sandy, they probably lack the ability to get their act together anyways.
For the people in the middle ground, my preferred approach is 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months. Not PAW (post apocalyptic world), not zombies, not world ending type of stuff. Instead, I stick with the likely scenarios.
The most likely is losing basic services for 3 days. That has happened to nearly all of us at one point in time or another. A big snow storm, a heat wave, an industrial accident, pick your failure mode, but having to shelter in place for 3 days with no power or water is not uncommon. The 3 day prep is also the ground work for entering the correct mindset. As a responsible citizen, you don’t want to be a burden to others during this time. Once you start thinking like that, the rest cascades logically.
So, for 3 days, what do you need? Well, as a minimum, you need to be able to regulate your body temperature, and enough water to stay alive. That implies some form of shelter, proper clothing, and at least a gallon a day per person. Some humans will need their medications, and will die without them. Planning ahead, talking with your doctor, and ensuring you consistently have 30 days worth of your life sustaining medication on hand makes a lot of sense. So, shelter, water, and medications. That is the beginning. After that, food is what springs to mind, even though it isn’t required for just 3 days. Then I ask people what they use every day, and watch the wheels in their head start turning. Suddenly, having a little extra in the way of toilet paper, sanitary products, and cleaning products makes a lot of sense.
3 weeks is where you start getting into less likely, but still probable disasters. Hurricane Sandy left people without power for easily that long. It could just as easily be caused by massive blizzards, or other major problems. Now your medical, water, and shelter challenges are joined by issues like food, sanitation, and fuel. A thought on sanitation. Over 3 days, not having running water, you can kind of make do if you don’t have a sanitation plan. Over 3 weeks, you have to dispose of waste properly and maintain your hygiene. The only thing worse than being without power, water, and general civilized comfort is being without any of the above and having explosive diarrhea on top of it. Fuel is also critical, and its storage is a topic that merits another post Again with Hurricane Sandy we all saw how hard it is to function without gasoline.
Then 3 months. This is worst case reasonable scenario for a total outage of all basic services. All of the above problems are magnified. You will probably need to be able to provide basic medical care for yourself – the doctor’s office might not be open, or it might be overwhelmed. This is the big leagues and if you have 3 months fairly dialed in, you have a good run at making it indefinite if needed.
Each of these ideas can take its own subsection. This is only an introduction to get people thinking. To start people down the path of being responsible citizens.