I received an email today that had a question worth addressing: “How long should my disaster preparedness kit last for?”
I was immediately reminded of a little story. There’s two guys out camping. One day, they come out of their tent and there’s a grizzly bear in their camp. The bear is clearly going to attack. One guy starts putting on his running shoes. The other guy tells him there’s no way he’ll be able to outrun the bear. The guy finishes tying his shoes and says, “I don’t have to outrun the bear.”
The implication, of course, is that he only had to outrun the other camper. Bears don’t run as fast when they’re busy mauling someone else.
Emergency preparedness is much the same way. In a typical scenario, help will arrive within a week. In a total catastrophe with no help coming, things will devolve quickly. Eventually there will be less competition for resources.
The human body can go three days without water. If you have enough water to last four days longer than the average person in your area, you’ll have greatly increased your chances of survival because there will be less competition.
Following the same logic, your kit should be able to last you long enough to simply wait out the competition. So a normal pantry plus three weeks, and a normal water supply plus four days.
At that point, there’s little worry of mobs of people fighting over resources.