You have 36 Hours to Keep Your Family Safe: What do you do?

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Last Updated on December 13, 2013

The news seems to always be a sober reminder of the importance of being prepared for any one of a number of scenarios. Here at the Prepper Journal we try to present information in a way that is informative and compelling on a wide variety of topics. Readers have to analyze for themselves the information we share. If it makes sense, your job is to then use your best judgment and formulate a plan for how you will take steps to prepare your family. The individual steps and plans might all be different from person to person, situation to situation. To be fully prepared may take years, but what if you found out tomorrow that you didn’t have years? What if you found out tomorrow that you only had 36 hours to protect your family from a highly contagious and deadly outbreak of disease?

I am not trying to be sensationalistic; on the contrary I am trying to be realistic.  I have been prepping for years so I feel pretty confident that we are prepared at some level for just about anything but I wondered today if I haven’t become complacent. It is one thing to store up food and water, but another thing completely to have an actual emergency where the supplies you have been spending your time and treasure on will be put to the test.

The reason I started to wonder was a relatively normal headline in the news. The headline said, “New death in Saudi Arabia from SARS-like coronavirus MERS” and the article goes on to say how 6 other people have been registered as having the disease. Disease and death aren’t really new I know. People die every day just from driving a car or performing a thousand normal activities that have nothing to do with any type of disease. No, I wasn’t worried about this disease jumping over here to where I am, but the thought struck me that a scenario like this is possible and what would I do if there really was a threat like this.

I know you may be scratching your head right now and thinking to yourself that I must not have been reading what I have been writing for these many months. This blog is all about being prepared, anticipating events like this and taking steps to ensure you are in as good of a position as possible to deal with the threat to your survival. What is this about me suddenly thinking about the possibility of a pandemic? Don’t I do that all of the time?

The answer to that question is no. I don’t think about any type of global outbreak of disease every day. I have thought about this before though and have made preparations. What made me want to write about this is the scenario I described above. I started to ask myself if we did learn that this outbreak was coming and we only had 36 hours left to prepare, what would I do. If you are a prepper who has been stocking up on food and water, if you have some firearms and medical supplies, if you have the basics down, what do you do? As I started to visualize this potential scenario in my mind I found my pulse getting just a little bit quicker.

I realize the scenario might be a little unrealistic with diseases; it isn’t like the authorities know what a rogue disease will do and when it will hit your town. It is highly unlikely that we would ever get a 36 hour notice of something coming like this. Natural emergencies like hurricanes and floods would be more likely, but for the sake of argument, let’s stick with a disease outbreak that will keep you in your home for a long time.

I guess another way of asking the question is: If you are prepared right now, what happens when you find out you are going to be living through a situation like this? Do you head out to the store with everyone else to grab some last-minute items? Do you rush to the gas station to fill up the tanks? Do you run to the hardware store for materials to board up your windows? Do you run down the street to get the last box (if you are lucky) of N95 masks and nitrile gloves? Do you become another one of those people we have been talking about that add to the problem and potentially open yourself up to greater risk than you need to?

I think the reason this thought occurred to me was that I personally do not have everything I could ever hope to have in order to outlast every conceivable emergency. I have taken great strides over the years to be prepared and my family has a lot of supplies and skills we can use in a situation like this. However, we are lacking some things. Or, I guess there are supplies we could have more of. If I found out that in 3 days they would lock down everything, that streets would be deserted and everyone would be quarantined in their homes, I can’t right now say I wouldn’t leave the house because I have everything I would ever need. So what would I do with my 3 days before we entered lock-down mode? What do you focus on?

I started to write out a list of items I would try to acquire, but stopped. There aren’t any of the main bases that I don’t have covered in some capacity. Could I have more food? Of course. Could I use more water? Yes. Do I have enough firearms and ammo? Maybe. I have some of just about everything, but will that be enough? I think what started this thought was that nagging idea in the back of my head that I don’t have everything I need. That when a real emergency strikes, I will be missing something that my family needs in order to be healthy, protected or safe. It is one of the things that keep me up at night.

I think that most of us would want to get out there and grab some last-minute items, fill up the tanks and make final checks. To me, this is just human nature. This drive to protect my family is the reason I started prepping in the first place. Just because I have some “stuff”, that doesn’t mean I can take it easy. The driving force to be prepared doesn’t end when you buy 20 cases of freeze-dried food. The urge to keep your family safe isn’t satisfied when you purchase a new handgun with a laser sight. The fear that your family will be cold or hungry doesn’t end when you buy some sleeping bags and MRE’s. If it did then you wouldn’t be actually trying to prepare, you would simply be buying stuff.

The real value of understanding the need to be prepared for emergencies and taking steps to address issues that your family or loved ones can face doesn’t have a finish line. Your job of trying to protect your family will never be done and your vigilance can never end. Being prepared doesn’t mean that you get to sit on your porch and laugh as everyone hauls rear to the store to try and the last supplies of food. Being “Prepared” doesn’t mean that you are any less concerned as they are, but you have thought a lot more and planned a little more than they did. It doesn’t make those who have planned ahead better, but it does give those who have taken steps to be more prepared an advantage. The steps we have taken to prepare won’t inoculate us from any of the emergencies, but does give us a leg up on the competition so to speak.

I think the main point for me is understanding that I will never have enough preps or skills to feel completely comfortable and I guess that is a good thing. This isn’t about buying “stuff”. Rather than being complacent, I believe that regardless of what we have accomplished in the way of preparing we are still watching for signs. I am still going to do what I can to keep my family safe and I won’t rest easy while there are threats on the horizon. If we did get some type of warning (you could say we get them every day) of impending doom I would still be trying to do what I can to further ensure the safety and protection of my family. I am pretty sure that is what most of you would  be doing too.


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Freedom-loving American doing what I can to help prepare and inform others. Editor and creator of The Prepper Journal 2013-2017, 2020 -

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Of course, you never answered the question. What do you do?


MT, I think for me I would be doing just what everyone else would be doing to some extent. I would still be trying to grab extra supplies, but I would focus on what I had less of. I would still try to get extra food, gas, medical supplies and ammo where appropriate. There isn’t a template to follow necessarily, it was more of a question of do I stay at home, or do I go out also just like everyone else? Does being prepared mean your job is finished or does it just give you a leg up? Do… Read more »

Common Sense

My #1 complaint about anyone in the prepper community is this right here — “what do you actually do?” Most don’t want to answer that question, because in doing so it deflates fear. That’s where practicality gets in the way of folks who have figured out a means to prey on people’s fears… and make some cash in the process. Too many people think prepping is just a matter of buying ammo and waiting for the zombie apocalypse to occur. Folks who are buying those “heirloom emergency seed banks” for $500 a pop? It takes 5 years to amend soil… Read more »


Common Sense, Either I don’t understand your comments, or you misunderstood my article. Maybe I just gave this article a bad title and it is my fault. The article wasn’t a how-to, but the question of “What do you do” was the premise of what I wrote. In my case I was asking the question of myself, someone who does already have what you listed above. If you have already taken care of the common sense part of prepping as you mention, then what? My question to myself was what does the person who has the basics down do (if… Read more »


I have a problem with keep all for ones self. I couldn’t turn any of my friends or family away. I don’t think a few cases of MERS is cause for alarm. I wouldn’t have a gun that’s for sure. To kill a human being is like killing a little bit of God.

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