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Are You Basing Your Preparedness On A Myth?

Preparedness Kit

Are you basing your preparedness on a myth? If you are basing it off one of the following you might be:

  • You need 3 days worth of supplies to survive
  • You need 3 days food and water
  • The supermarket holds only 3 days worth of food (for a community/or person)

These are what I call The 3 Day Preparedness Myth. If you’ve been sucked into these myths you likely fall into one of two camps – You’re either extremely under prepared, or you simply have not prepared at all, believing that you have enough stored to make it three days.

I have written about this before, but it is something that comes up a lot, and is repeated all too often. Let’s start with the myth that you need to have three days worth of supplies (generally meaning food and water) to survive. This myth is oft repeated in the media, and even by some organizations and preparedness folks. It got its start and should still read that you should have AT LEAST a 3 day supply of food and water. The biggest issue around this I believe is that the campaign worked so well people figured that they need only three days worth of supplies, and that they could easily handle 3 days.

In some cases this has to do with how our brains work and we only hear the 3 day supply of part. In other cases, the “at least” was dropped as today we often hear “make sure you have a three day supply at home” more than anything else. Originally, the AT LEAST 3 Day supply of food and water was started because the belief was that it would take “rescuers” three days to reach ALL victims of a disaster. As we have seen in the past decade, large scale regional disaster response has taken weeks to reach ALL impacted people. So consider this when you are preparing for calamities at work or at home.

That is usually enough to take care of the first two myths since they are really the same. The next one however is a bit more tricky. It is usually expressed as:

  • “We are three days from disaster”
  • “The Stores only have a three day supply”
  • “We are three days away from a food shortage”

There are other forms of this, but one of the most popular I hear is that the stores only hold a three day supply of food and goods. This is not actually true, and as anyone who lives on the East Coast knows, when a storm is coming, you only have about three hours until the shelves are pretty much bare of essentials. The first items to go are usually, Milk, Bread, Water, Butter, Eggs, with the first three always on top. If it is a heat wave or power outage, ICE & Water top the list.

So, if you’re waiting until the last minute before an event happens you may not even get the chance to make your purchases especially in an urban setting. This Three day thing actually comes from our supply chain being thinned and with everything now being “just in time” it takes about three days to fully restock store shelves. Longer if the store is actually impacted by the event.

I hope I have provided you with enough information to reconsider your preparedness planning and that you increase your supplies if you have “the minimum three day supply.”


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