It doesn’t matter if you’re planning for the end of the world as know it or just a regular guy trying to live a regular life with his family. You need to have some kind of emergency preparedness program in place. You might not be worried about the grid going down, a nuclear attack or massive social unrest. But what about hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural disasters that happen all the time?
Every family should have a preparedness plan in place to deal with the disruptions that we know you will encounter at some time or another. You don’t want to be like people who got caught in Hurricane Katrina and couldn’t get out. You want to be prepared to go – or at least safety shelter in place – in the event that there’s a crisis.
Here’s the basic emergency preparedness list that every family needs to have in place whether they’re taking off or staying home.
Making Sure Your Family Has Food
You’re going to need to eat, whether the stores are closed for two weeks or forever. So you want to have enough food for however long you’re preparing for. The best thing to have on hand are staples that your family eats regularly. You don’t want to be making the situation more stressful by introducing all kinds of new food to your family.
Another good base to have covered is comfort food and treats. Candy, cookies and the like are great to have around to raise people’s spirits at a time when they’re really going to need it.
How Much Water Do You Need For An Emergency?
Even if you’re prepping for a shorter term disaster, water can be a bit of a problem. The reason is that water is bulky and hard to store, especially if you live in a major city and don’t have a lot of space. Still, the rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day. That covers everything from cleaning to drinking.
This is a bare minimum. You can augment this supply without taking up much space with a water filtration straw or similar system, or with water purification pills.
Defending Your Home Against Intruders
It doesn’t take a total collapse of society for you and your family to need weapons to defend yourself against attackers. Whenever there is a disaster, there is the risk of civil unrest. When that happens, you need to be prepared to defend yourself, your home and your family from harm.
Guns are obviously great and nothing else compares. A machete is probably your second best bet, followed by a knife – especially if you know how to properly throw it for combat. Baseball bats are horrible self-defense weapons and should not be relied upon to secure your home.
As always, anytime firearms are needed, don’t forget the brass. Any firearm is better than none, but the best to worst list to have for firearms is: carbine, semi-automatic, shotgun, revolver – but the best is always the one you feel most comfortable shooting.
Emergency Medicine And First Aid
In even a short-term disaster you’re going to need to have medical supplies on hand. That includes any medications you or your family have to take regularly. It also means having First Aid supplies on hand to deal with any injuries or illnesses people in your house might suffer until things return to normal.
Batteries And Power Packs For Emergencies
Most devices don’t take AAs these days, but it’s good to have batteries on hand to run radios, flashlights and the like. Better than that is having a solar-powered battery pack you can use to recharge all your typical electronic devices, as well as USB-charged flashlights, radios and any other emergency gear you have. Prices have come way down on solar-powered battery packs, so these are within almost any family’s budget.
Should You Keep Cash Around For An Emergency?
When the ATMs aren’t working, cash is going to be king. If the power goes down for two days or two weeks, how do you plan on paying for things without your debit card working? Plus, in a medium-term emergency (weeks or months) you can use cash to buy supplies from your neighbors who have extra.
How much cash should you have on hand? You don’t need to go overboard. So think of having maybe between $500 and $2000 on hand. Once your savings account has been topped up to the recommended six months of savings, pull out a few hundred or a couple thousand dollars, put it in a cookie jar and forget that it exists.
Keeping In Touch With The Outside World
A battery-powered radio is a great way to stay abreast of developments as they happen. Better than that is a solar-powered radio. That way, no matter how many batteries you go through, you’re going to have a way to know what’s going on.
Keeping Clean When The Water Runs Dry
Cleaning products are essential when emergency services are lacking. This is when a small cut or abrasion can get infected and turn into a major problem. Some of this will be in your First Aid kit we talked about above. Beyond that, you want to have bleach and other cleaning products, toilet paper, alcohol wipes and maybe even a bucket camping toilet – if the power goes out your toilets might not work.
Bugging Out: When Home Isn’t Safe Anymore
Your home is the safest place to be during an emergency… until it’s not. In that case, you’re going to need to bug out. GPS is going to drain your battery quick, so you’re going to want some paper maps of the local area to help you navigate your way to safety.
This whole list falls under “we hope you never need it, but we hope that you have it.” It might sit around collecting dust for the rest of your life. In the event that you need this stuff, however, it can save you and your family’s life.