Emergency preparedness is a noble endeavor, one that every individual should be engaged in. But, in order to make it an efficient pursuit, it shouldn’t be performed haphazardly. Many people start out with good intentions, but are misguided in their preparedness and food storage activities. They have a great goal in mind (i.e., being ready for the worst should a disaster or emergency occur), but there is no method to their madness. After they have randomly accumulated some of the necessities for any possible perceived threats, they are not then sure if they have all they need, and if they have allocated their resources properly. Of course almost anything is better than nothing, but there should be some prioritization beginning with preparation for a short-term disaster survival scenario all the way through to a “doomsday” predicament. Not everything can be prepared for because it is impossible to accurately predict the future, but it is certainly better to be over- than under prepared, and the best approach is to build a rock-solid emergency preparedness foundation and add to it in the proper sequence.
The proposed sequence is as follows: the first thing that everyone should store in case of emergency is a 72 hour emergency kit. A 72 hour emergency kit is an easy-to-carry and easily accessible package that contains items such as three days of water (most important) and non-perishable food items (preferably ready-to-eat goods), personal toiletry/hygiene items, first aid kit and medications, flashlight and batteries, blankets and sleeping bag, a radio, pocket knife, etc. 72 hours is the time frame that it will likely take to restore the usual services that are interrupted after a major disaster. You should plan on being self-sufficient for at least these three days.
The next level up in the readiness pyramid is a three-month supply of food storage that would include items that you ordinarily eat and can be rotated easily, eliminating any waste. These are such things as canned goods that fit easily into your food pantry or an extra closet, as well as frozen foods (meat, preserves, and vegetables).
MRE’s (meals ready-to-eat), freeze-dried foods, and dehydrated foods are the next step up in prioritization. These food storage items store for long periods of time in a climate-controlled environment, usually between 10 to 30 plus years.
Dry-pack storage items such as wheat, white rice, and beans move us even further up the readiness pyramid. These items are very nutrient dense, and take more work to prepare meals with, but are extremely versatile and can be included in too many recipes to count. They are very good staples for your diet. Other dry-pack items include powdered milk, powdered eggs and powdered butter, bullion (chicken and beef), flour, pasta noodles, etc.
After having considered food preparation adequately, it is time to move up the readiness pyramid to the level containing extra clothing and footwear. Remember you must consider the climate in which you live and the change (or not) in seasons. If you live in a region that has harsh winters, be certain to have adequate coats, sweaters, thermal underwear, warm clothing, gloves, boots, and blankets.
The next level up the pyramid is firearms and ammunition. First and foremost these serve as tools for killing game animals for meat should this become necessary. Secondly, these may serve as protection in the event of a disorderly societal breakdown (rioting, looting, etc.) where you may need to protect your family from harm.
Camping equipment basics such as tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, camping stoves/Dutch ovens, fishing pole and tackle, a Leatherman, matches, a lantern, and porta-potties will all make you much more confident in your abilities to survive in the outdoors if you need to move even further up the readiness pyramid, and have to evacuate your home for whatever reason for a period of time.
A person may survive indefinitely without a shower, but not comfortably. That is why this category of personal hygiene items is nearer the top of the readiness pyramid, but still very much a valid and useful part of it. The specific items you should include here are soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, a razor and shaving cream, deodorant, feminine napkins, and diapers.
Finally, once you have completed your collection of each of the preceding layers and levels (and not before), top off the readiness pyramid with an emergency fund. This should cover as much as three to six months of living expenses, and then be supplemented with gold and especially silver (poor man’s gold) bullion.