The Layered Approach to Prepping Series. Part 2: Your 3-Day Hour Emergency Plan

Print page

Guest Post by Dan Sullivan from Survival

The Layered Approach to Prepping Series. Part 2: Your 3-Day Hour Emergency Plan

Photo Credit:

In part 1 of this series we talked about prepping for personal emergencies such as car crashes, rape, assault and many others. We discussed things like developing your awareness, having an everyday carry kit and personal security.

Now it’s time to tackle something the Red Cross and FEMA recommend but few people listen and even fewer do it right: having a 72-hours emergency plan. This is more than just about stockpiling food but, before we get into that, let’s see the list of disasters it should cover:


  • riots (though some will last more than 3 days)
  • a prolonged power outage
  • heavy snow
  • a hurricane (not the kind that requires evacuation, though)
  • state of emergency
  • flash floods
  • tornadoes

    Food and Water

    Some preppers joke saying that all they need is a big jar of peanut butter and water. Fortunately, there’re a lot more options to choose from but, before you rush to buy emergency food, you need to take into consideration the two possible scenarios: bugging in or bugging out.

    For bugging in situations, you can store pretty much anything (remember we’re talking about disasters that don’t last more than a few days). However, foods with really short shelf life such as fruit or steak should not be part of your stockpile because rotating them would be impractical. However, if you have them in your fridge or freezer when it hits, they should be eaten first before they spoil.

    Think about storing the following foods in your pantry, freeze or freezer: canned food, honey, dried beans, rice, pasta powdered milk and so on. These are actually the same ones you’ll need to stockpile for long-term scenarios but we’ll leave that for the next article.

    For bugging out, think about packing the following inside your BOB: freeze-dried food (too expensive to make them yourself but Mountain House has a very good selection), hard candy (good energy boosters), energy bars and powdered milk. You’ll probably want to stay away from MREs, they taste bad and they’re not cheap.

    Calorie-wise, the general rule of thumb is 2,000 calories per day, more if you’re bugging out because of all the burned calories and the stress, less if you’re a woman or a child. Counting calories isn’t really a priority right now, it will become one once we move to the other survival layers.

    Your Bug Out Bag

    A lot has been said about bug out bags so I won’t try to cover the entire topic in this sub-section of the article. I just want to make a few points…
    #1. First off, you probably don’t need that big of a bag. Weight is crucial and it’s likely your bug out won’t last longer than a few hours, a day tops. If you have a bug out location nearby or if you have a fully-equipped bug out vehicle, stick to something small (unless you’re confident you can carry it on your back). Some people prepare from the possibility of living indefinitely in the wilderness by assembling an INCH bag (which stands for I’m Never Coming Home). This isn’t something we’re interested at this point, though but whether or not you need a large BOB backpack is up to your and your unique situation.
    #2. Don’t overload it with food and water. These are heavy and they’ll slow you down. Remember you can survive up to 3 weeks without food, and water is everywhere, all you need is a LifeStraw. There’re many other survival essentials you should include to cover as many disaster scenarios as possible.
    #3. Speaking of which, here’s a quick list of survival essentials for your BOB: compass, a couple of Bic lighters, a few blast-matches, tinder, a tarp, a change of clothes, an extra pair of glasses, an emergency blanket, a headlamp, a hand-crank flashlight. You can find a full list here.
    #4. Try to get the smallest and lightest versions of each item but don’t compromise on quality. Every ounce counts.
    #5. Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit. It would be nice if you assembled it yourself from scratch instead of getting a pre-packed one. It’s cheaper this way, and, besides, if you can get discounts from buying in bulk, you can assemble multiple FAKs for your car, your get home bag and your home.

    Photo Credit:

    Your Bug Out Location

    Preppers who think they’ll will bug out without a destination in mind are gambling with their lives. You need a bug out location. Period. In fact, having several of them is even better. Places such as at your friends or relatives in another state may be enough in case of heavy snow or if your town is paralyzed.
    Speaking of bugging out, you need maps of the area to help you move quickly. Mark all your bug out locations and every possible way out of town. Make copies of the maps. Even better, laminate them.
    Light, Fire and Cooking
    Whatever will hit you and your family, it’s likely you won’t have electricity, which means no light and no means to cook. Now, canned food and warm clothes can solve these two problems but why spend days on end whole time in the dark and without a hot meal?
    The foods in your stockpile with the biggest shelf life are also the ones you want to postpone eating because you want to start with the ones that are about to spoil (no electricity equals no fridge and freezer).
    At the very least you should have a camping stove or even a solar cooker. A third alternative is something my grandparents used to cook when I was a kid: a wood burning stove.


    Since we’re talking about short-term emergencies, there’s no need to worry about getting a HAM radio license just yet. Instead, focus on having:
    an extra phone
    an extra battery for your phone
    a solar or a hand-crank charger
    a pre-paid SIM card
    an AM/FM radio to stay up-to-date with what’s happening (preferably one that doubles as a weather radio)
    and walkie-talkies, in case the phone lines are down
    Anything Else?
    Keep these in mind as well for your 72-hour plan:
    get into shape in order to react quickly to run away from a disaster,
    practice bugging out so you don’t hesitate when it happens,
    learn how to quickly turn off all utilities and teach it to your kids,
    work on your survival cooking skills, learn how to operate that stove and how to avoid carbon monoxide intoxications, learn basic medical skills in case you or a loved one is injured
    …and add more items to your medicine cabinet (more pills, and more medical items such as a tourniquet or a couple of thermometers).

    Final Word

    I hope the things discussed in this article aren’t too much for you. You don’t need to buy everything today. Have a budget, take it slow and don’t forget that skills are more important than gear. As long as you have a bug out bag, a small stockpile and the right skills, you should be fine.
    I’ll see you next time when we’re going to discuss your 3-week survival plan.

    For more information from Dan Sullivan visit Dan at Survival

    I hope you all enjoyed this post from Dan Sullivan as much as I did! Keep an eye out for my post this week tomorrow for my Mom’s homemade stuffing/dressing recipe!  It’s amazingly delicious!



    *As with any post at Lil’ Suburban Homestead – our disclaimer is always seek any medical or health advice from your medical professional.  Any information shared here is never meant to replace what your medical professional shares with you.

I Love Hearing From All Of You! Thanks for sharing!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.