Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. The well known phrase is an appropriate one for preppers to keep at the forefront of everything we do. Planning what you will do in an emergency or disaster is an extremely important part of prepping. Without a three day survival plan, will you and your family know what to do in an emergency?
Preparing your three day survival plan should come before preparing your kit, because without understanding your plan you won’t be able to obtain the right kit. The plan ensures that you and your family have everything you need to survive for the first three days after a disaster.
Why A Three Day Survival Plan?
The three day duration for this survival plan is not a randomly chosen number. The majority of short term, more common emergencies that we may face will last less than three days. In major disaster and apocalyptic scenarios, this plan means surviving the chaotic first three days of the disaster. We also need to have long term survival plans for major disasters, which we look at in other articles.
The three day duration is also ideal for a bug out bag. Most people can carry three days worth of survival kit in a bug out bag. Long term survival will rely on stores at home or in pre-planned bug out locations as well as survival skills.
How To Make A Three Day Survival Plan
Plans should be based on realistic scenarios. Take a look at our disaster scenarios section, with articles on many disaster scenarios. Think about scenarios that are more likely to affect you and the area where you live. Plan for the more likely scenarios first, and you will find that your plan will also cover many of the less likely too.
Once you have chosen some disaster scenarios to plan for, write down step-by-step everything that you would do in that scenario. Plan what you and your family should do immediately when the disaster happens and for the next few days. Doing this planning for a number of scenarios will then help you determine what kit you need to prep.
When making your three day survival plans for a variety of scenarios, consider the points in the following sections:
Evacuation and Meeting Points
- Identify meeting points for your family. For a disaster scenario where you will be sheltering at home, you can use home as your meeting point. Emergencies where your family needs to evacuate the house, for example a fire, require a meeting point just outside the house. Disasters affecting the area you live may make the home inaccessible, so you will also need a meeting point further away.
- Determine home evacuation routes. Evacuating the home quickly and calmly during an emergency is much easier if everyone knows evacuation routes before the emergency. Plan and practice evacuating your home using realistic scenarios. When you practice evacuating the house, lock any doors that are normally locked.
- Identify routes to meeting points. A disaster may happen when the family members are not at home. Plan routes from work, school and home to your meeting points and ensure that everyone in the family knows them.
- Decide family responsibilities for meeting. If you have children or members of the family who need assistance, decide who is responsible for providing the assistance. For example, if there is a disaster while parents are at work and children are at school, decide who is responsible for collecting the children from school.
- Find out evacuation procedures when not at home. Make sure you know and understand the evacuation procedures for places where family members spend a lot of time, for example workplaces or schools. This will help to ensure your plan for meeting up will work and that family members are not evacuated to unexpected locations.
- Know how to contact each other. Make sure that every member of the family knows how to contact others. Make sure children know the telephone numbers of the family members and the home address. Keep contact details for each family member’s work or school to hand so it is easy to get in touch during an emergency. During a large scale disaster, phone networks may be overloaded or unavailable, so rely on known meeting points rather than assuming the phone will work.
- Choose emergency contacts. Emergency contacts should be people who are unlikely to be involved in the same emergency situation as you. For example, this could be a friend or relative who lives outside your area who you can contact by phone during an emergency. Emergency contacts are useful to be able to pass information about your safety, or help coordinate the family. Choose who will be your contacts and make sure that every member of your family has the contact information.
Secure The Home
- Know how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water. All family members should know how to turn off gas, electricity and water supplies to the house. This is because when evacuating the house during an emergency, if it is safe you should shut off these supplies. If doing this would put you are risk, for example during a house fire, then do not do it.
- Understand responsibility for locking the house. For an emergency where you will travel away from home, ensure that you know who is responsible for locking doors and windows. This person will also have to make sure that no one is locked in the house.
Shelter At Home Or Leave
- Decide when you would shelter at home. During many disaster scenarios, sheltering at home is the safest choice. Decide which disaster and emergency situations would be best for you to shelter at home.
- Decide which situations you would leave home. Some disaster scenarios may force you to leave home, and others you may choose to. If you plan to leave home, decide where you will go to stay for the duration of the disaster situation. Plan how you will travel and routes that you can take to the location that you plan to stay. Roads may be busy or blocked, so have alternative plans to get to the location.
Take a look at our article on deciding whether to Bug Out Or Bug In for more.
Food and Water For Three Day Survival
- Determine how much water and food your family will need. This is a three day survival plan, so work out how much water and food your family will need for three days.
- Plan where your water supply will come from. If the mains water supply is not available, where will you obtain water for drinking and hygiene. A supply of bottled water can form part of your three day survival kit.
- Identify where your food will come from. Your three day survival kit can include three days worth of food. If you have food that needs preparation and cooking, consider whether you will have the means to do this.
Shelter and Clothing For Three Day Survival
- Identify safe places to shelter in the home. For emergency scenarios where you will be sheltering at home, identify the safe locations in the home. For some disaster scenarios (e.g. nuclear explosion) it is safest to shelter in a room at the centre of the home as far away from external walls, windows and doors as possible. Alternatively, you may have a room that you can secure and tape up windows, for example this may be useful if there is a large fire or chemical leak nearby.
- Plan how to keep warm in the house. During a disaster or emergency you may not be able to use the house’s normal heating, for example if the gas supply is shut off. Decide how you will make sure that everyone in the family is able to keep warm if this is the case. If you have an open fire or wood burning stove, your plan should include having fuel available. An alternative plan may be to identify how to keep the people rather than the house warm. Your three day survival kit will need to include enough clothing and blankets to keep warm even during cold weather. Our article on How To Stay Warm Without Heating has some ideas for this.
- Identify where you will shelter if leaving home. Decide where you will go if you plan to leave home during a disaster scenario. Plan how and where you and your family will shelter. If this is going to be an outdoor location, your three day survival kit needs to include everything you need to shelter.
- Plan how to keep warm if leaving home. Ensure that you are able to provide warmth in the location you plan to travel to. If it is an outdoor location, you may plan to use a fire for warmth and cooking. In this case, your three day survival kit must include fire starting equipment and you need to plan where to obtain wood for to keep the fire going.
Injuries or Illness
- First aid training for all the family. First aid training will be very useful in case of any injuries or illnesses. Having everyone in the family able to perform first aid is better than just having one first aider. A well stocked first aid kit should be part of your three day survival kit.
- Determine how illness or injury could affect your three day survival plan. Illness or injury occurring during an emergency situation could mean that parts of your plan will be impossible. Identify areas in your plan that will be affected and consider alternatives in case of illness or injury.
- Emergency medical care. In case of a serious illness or injury, you may need to contact emergency medical services. Plan how you would do this whether you are sheltering at home or at a location away from home.
Kit for Three Day Survival Plan
Once you have planned how you will deal with each of these considerations, you can start putting together your three day survival kit. Keep your kit packed as a bug-out bag. It will be equally as useful in a situation where you have to put my three day survival plan into action while sheltering at home. Our bug out bag article describes a variety of vital and optional kit to have as part of your three day survival plan.