Three Day Go-BagsThese are also called Bug-Out bags. You have one for each member of the family, including pets, in which you have a few essentials and comfort items that you may need if you were forced to leave your home, or bug-out, suddenly. For example, the police knock on the door that there is a stand-off in the neighbourhood and there may be gunfire. Or a fire threatens your neighbourhood, or a train derails with a dangerous chemical aboard (remember the Mississauga train derailment?) You don’t want to be running around trying to gather supplies. You probably couldn’t think straight. It's enough to deal with the stress of the emergency, itself.
These bags would include a 3 day supply of toiletries, snacks and diversions, and a few articles of clothing as well. You would have them in an accessible place, like a hall closet or the garage, so you can just grab and go. I’ve been working on ours, and I find a knapsack holds enough for 24 hours, but if I want to take 72 hours worth of stuff I consider important, I’d have to use a duffle bag, but then, I’m a bit of a princess. J Find what works for you. I’ll do a later post with my list of go-bag items.
Three Day Shelter-in-PlaceThis scenario assumes you cannot leave your home for a few days to replenish supplies or travel anywhere. A snowstorm or icy conditions could literally imprison you in your home for a day or two. There could also be a disruption in food re-supply due to weather or a truckers’ strike. You should have at least three days of food, water, toiletries and medications on hand to be self-sufficient, and to avoid the mad rush on supplies in the stores in advance of an impending storm.
Three Week EmergencyThis would be for longer term emergencies and natural disasters. Remember the Quebec/Ontario ice storm and power failure? It happened in winter, just down the highway from us. Our girls were young at the time, and it made me realize I had only enough supplies for the next day or two. I had no camp stove or any other emergency supplies. Nothing. I began my collection of camping supplies then, and was able to use it to cook with when the Eastern Seaboard blackout occurred.
There are extremes in Prepping, as in most things in life. There are those who won’t prep at all, feeling they are trusting God more than those who do prepare for emergencies. I addressed this in my earlier post, Why I am a Prepper. There is the other extreme, usually Americans, (no offence intended), who encourage you to stockpile weapons and ammunition, build secret rooms, start gardening, set up rain barrels, and stockpile enough food for years. Some even build radioactive fallout shelters. That’s your call. But how about if you accomplish the first two scenario preps, and then you can consider whether or not you want to take it to the next level?
Long Term—Months to YearsThis is also known as TEOTWAWKI or The End Of The World As We Know It. It would be a major disaster, terrorist attack, E.M.P. (that’s a topic for another post), government or economic collapse, war, break in food supply, or famine. There would be mass panic and anarchy. This would probably be when you’d be thinking you should have listened to the Americans and stockpiled weapons and ammo. J This stage of planning requires a methodical approach, a willingness to think “worst-case-scenario” and a plan to deal with each eventuality. There are great websites about this out there. Just do a search of Survivalist and Prepping and you’ll see a wide spectrum of scenarios and approaches. For this time of prep, you are aiming for a “deep pantry” and it will require money and a dedicated person to plan it.
What Now?Focus on the first two scenarios first. Assemble 72-hour go-bags for each member of your family, and make sure you have enough food, medications, diapers, formula, etc. if you had to shelter-in-place for three days. That should keep you busy for a while, gathering supplies.