Could You Survive a Two Week Unplanned “Vacation”?

I jokingly posted on Facebook that the rest of this year is a holiday. That made me wonder how many people could actually just stop working and stay home for two weeks. Of course we already know the answer to that question, don’t we, thanks to Fauci’s ‘Two weeks to flatten the curve” experiment. It did not go very well. Many people had no water, no gas, and no food in their pantries because they were used to eating at restaurants, and evidently thousands were on their last roll of toilet paper!

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of National
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of National by National Archives and Records Administration is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

Hopefully the last two years encouraged many people to keep a little bit more food and necessities ‘on hand’, but I wonder. Did everyone already use up the extra groceries they bought during the quarantine months? I know I have let my stockpile dwindle down a little more than I would like. And with inflation so high, I’m already spending over $300 a week in groceries, so it’s hard to stock up. And some people have even less room in their budget than we do.

But it’s still a good idea to be prepared for unforeseen emergencies such as serious illnesses or accidents that keep you from working, natural disasters and weather events, economic crashes, war, job loss, death, and anything else that might keep you from accessing your normal sources of money, food, energy, medical care, communications, and transportation.

Obviously if you knew you were taking a two week vacation you would have a plan for all of the above. But what if it happened suddenly? What if you were a stay home mom whose husband suddenly became unable to work or died? What if there was a freak snow storm that shut down the roads so no trucks could get through, gas pumps quit working, water froze, and all the businesses closed?

My street

We are a ‘live in the moment’ culture when it comes to being prepared for emergencies. Yes, we work hard and plan for the future, but do we plan for the unplanned? Maybe we are optimistic that it ‘won’t happen to us’. Either way, Americans largely are not prepared to take care of their own needs in a crisis situation. We expect the first responders and the government to have a plan. And they do, but it’s not always sufficient. I think we discovered that in March 2020.

Prepping is not just hoarding toilet paper and hiding canned vegetables under your bed. It’s also knowing what to do in many emergency situations such as fire, violence, shelter, animal attacks, etc. and basic skills that many of us lack. It’s also having alternative sources of power, such as battery packs and a generator, knowing your neighbors, and having an escape route in case you need to leave the area quickly.

So what should we do? Honestly I am just a beginner on this topic, but I plan to learn more. I found this website called The Prepared that seems very reasonable and helpful for beginners. I don’t plan to reinvent the wheel here, so check out their information. This list is a GOAL, don’t try to do it all in one day!

Home checklist summary:
Waterstore 15 gallons of potable water per person (roughly 1 gallon per day) and have ways to treat dirty water via either a portable water filter or countertop water filter
Food: at least 23,000 calories per person (roughly 1,500 calories per day) of shelf-stable food that’s ready to eat or only needs boiling water to make; usually one or a mix of extra supermarket food you normally eat anyway or special prepper food that lasts forever
Firelightersmatches, and backup fire starters
Lightheadlamps, flashlights, candleslanterns
Heating and coolingindoor-safe heaters, extra blankets, USB-powered fan
Shelter: a tarp (even a cheap one you find at a local store) comes in handy for improvised shelter, plugging holes in the house, and clearing debris
Medical: list of 145 prioritized home medical supplies
Hygienewet wipes, hand sanitizer, camp soap
Communication: either a one-way NOAA radio or a two-way ham radio (if you know how to use it)
Powerspare batteries and rechargers (your bug out bag will have a solar charger, but you can also get a second one for home)
Toolsaxe, shovel, work gloves, wrench for your gas lines, zip ties, duct tape, etc.
Self defense: depends on personal views, may include body armorfirearmspepper spray etc.
Cash: as much as you can reasonably afford to stash
Mental health: board games, favorite books, headphones, movies downloaded to a tablet, etc.
Documents: copy of deeds/titles, insurance policies, birth certificates, maps, pictures of family members, etc. in both physical and USB thumb drive forms
Local & emergency info: write down important contact numbers, know the location of the nearest hospitals, etc.

Also be sure to check out my friend Suzanne Sherman’s helpful books and podcast for more advice, strategies and recipes!

clear glass jars on white wooden shelf
Photo by Taryn Elliott on

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