Guest Post by Dan Sullivan from Survival Sullivan.com
The Layered Approach to Prepping. Part 4: How to Make a 3-Month Survival Plan
For those of you who don’t remember, the layered approach to prepping is a series of articles taking you from a 3-day stockpile to one week, three weeks, three months and then an entire year. This is the 3rd in the series and focuses on a 3-month survival plan.
Before we begin, I want to address a question some of you may have: do you really need a 3-month stockpile? Is it for you? Different people prep for different scenarios, so let’s first figure out when you should and shouldn’t think about one.
Needless to say, if you don’t believe in long-term disasters, you’re probably fine with a 3 week stash. Many preppers do not and that’s ok. But, once on this path, it’s a shame to let it go, unless you’re focusing on some other aspect of survival for the time being, such as taking a first aid course, learning how to handle guns, getting into shape or focusing on homesteading.
If you’ve read some of the articles on this blog, you realized this takes time and planning and you may want to focus your efforts on one thing at a time. I get the best results in practically everything that I do by focusing my efforts 100% on something, before switching to something else.
Now, what on earth would cause a 3 month disaster? Lots of things can get you and your family to hunker down either at your home or at your BOL, such as:
A virus outbreak (you probably heard about the recent one named Zika, but what you may not know is that Hawaii declared a state of emergency because of it (even though there haven’t been any cases there yet – source).
The Yellowstone super-eruption. The odds are small, yes, but if it happens, 2 thirds of the United States will be covered in ash. This would mean you’d have to spend at least a few months indoors… maybe more.
A devastating hurricane. Since you can’t really count on authorities to help you (remember Katrina?), you’re going to have to hunker down until they can fix the roads, the power grid and so on. Better to spend 2-3 months inside your basement or safe-room than one week trapped into a FEMA camp like the Louisiana Superdome during Katrina.
Martial Law or a State of Emergency. There was a case in 2015 in Brussels, when authorities locked down the entire capital city for 5 whole days, meaning people couldn’t get in or out. If the threat is bigger, martial law could last weeks or even months.
Now, I’m assuming you already have a 3-week supply of food, water and medicine, as well as some of the items I recommended in past articles (flashlights, candles, clothes, cooking and eating utensils and on and on). What we’re going to do here is continue to build on all of this, while keeping in mind the unique and unpleasant situation you’ll be in.
What would your needs be in case of a 3-month disaster?
You’re gonna need a lot more food and water. Pretty obvious but do you have the space to keep it all? And is that space cool enough? What I mean is, if you don’t have a basement and you’ve been stockpiling things in your pantry (where temperatures are higher), you’re gonna need to make one.
Rotating a 3-month supply is harder so you need to keep those temperatures around 70F (or 21 degrees Celsius), to maximize shelf life. You can install air conditioning and that would work, but what happens if the power grid goes down? If you have alternate ways to generate electricity, then you should be fine but if the disaster is an EMP, then AC along with everything else that has circuits will be fried. Still, not a bad idea if you don’t believe in an EMP happening and you’re prepping for something else.
You best option, really is to bury the food in the ground. Building a basement should be top priority, but you can also bury small containers into the ground the amount of food that will fit in them is limited.
Which foods to get? No surprise here, just store more of the same: beans, rice, pasta, honey, peanut butter. However, you may want to add some variety to your stash because 3 months is a long time. Think of getting spices and herbs to make your food taste better.
You can keep them in airtight glass jars but they too need the 70F constant temperature for maximum shelf life. Many people keep them in herb cabinets in the kitchen but moisture and warmer temperatures should be avoided.
Spices to consider: salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder etc.
Herbs to consider: basil, oregano, parsley, sage and mint.
If you’re looking to learn how to dry herbs to make them last a long time, you may want to check this article.
Before we move on to water, we need to talk about comfort foods and drinks. 3 months is a long time and, while eating beans and rice every day will keep you alive, you can do better. Consider the following comfort foods for your 3 month stockpile: honey, peanut butter, hard candy, popcorn, fruit powder (to make juice), whiskey, vodka, tea and, of course, coffee.
To these you can add something that doesn’t bring any nutritional benefit whatsoever but it makes my day a whole lot better: Pepsi or Coke. Both will last at least 6 months inside your pantry (source). Hey, nobody’s perfect!
Let’s talk for a moment about water, because you’re going need to consider a lot more than just your drinking needs. You need it to wash up, to do the laundry, to water your garden, to do the dishes and so on. I suggest you think beyond the 55-gallon water barrels for drinking water. Think about a 300 or even gallon water tank as well as having a rainwater harvesting system that fills it. You can store this tank in your back yard or even inside your attic.
Next, you’re going to need more medicine. Keeping in mind that I’m not a doctor, one trick I recommend you employ is skip a day every once in a while when taking your medication. Most doctors won’t prescribe antibiotics for stockpiling purposes so you need to get creative here.
Last but not least, let’s talk about which non-edible items to get. We need to go beyond buying toiletries to last you a few weeks. If we’re not careful, we could end up spending a lot of money.
Fortunately, there are strategies that could get you to save up to 100%! Coupons, sales and bulk discounts can become a part-time job so long as you have the time. Research is going to eat a lot of your time if you truly want to get the best prices but the good thing is, it’s free to do it.
Also, don’t get fixated on well-known brands. No-name products are sometimes better, cheaper and now we have the Internet to tell us that by finding reviews on Amazon.com, forums and blogs.
Most of these items can be stored in the attic (toilet paper, clothes, floss, Paracord, gardening tools, chainsaws etc.). I would stay away from putting anything flammable, though, such as candles, batteries, wood and ammo.
Last but not least, consider keeping an inventory of your stash. Food, water, tools, gear – everything! I suggest you keep it on your computer in an Excel or Google Docs sheet and then print out copies every now and then to have them on paper.
Well, this is it! Building a basement and getting a large water tank for your increasing needs are the two most difficult things about having a 3-month stockpile. Everything else is dead easy, all you need is to put the time and a little bit of money every week.
I hope you all enjoyed Dan’s post I love bringing you all the greatest and latest information from different perspectives. I have to tell you I have been so excited about this collaboration….he is just sharing such a wealth of great information!
For more information on the Zika virus click here. Knowledge is power and it’s good to know about the virus and the best methods for prevention.
I wish you all a beautiful week…until next time!
*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.
Also any view shared from a guest post may not always be our express view at Lil’ Suburban Homestead.