Your Simple and Effective Emergency Preparedness List

We all know that having an emergency preparedness list of supplies and equipment is a must to prepare for emergencies or disasters and keep our family safe.

Somewhere along the line, many people find themselves entirely too busy to take the time for any kind of long term emergency preparedness.

I have provided some earlier articles on the importance of Emergency Preparedness, so with that background I want to put together a short survival kit list of some essential supplies and equipment that are very basic to disaster kits and hopefully get you in the right direction to at least prepare a little bit.

This emergency preparedness list will be by no means all inclusive because each family has their own idea of how much to prepare and what items they feel they need or what they don’t need.

This will be a good base of items to think about and you can add or change items as you see fit.

Emergency Preparedness List


A good place to start. When the power goes out, you will definitely want to know where your emergency lighting is. Some choices are:

1. Flashlights. Do you know where they are and if the batteries work? Have more than enough flashlights for your family and spare batteries. It is also a good idea to have some non-battery operated flashlights. There are many that wind up or you shake to generate flashlight power.

2. Oil Lamps or Kerosene Lanterns. These put off a good amount of light when everyone is huddled together in a room or basement. These will put off a small amount toxic fumes so it is a good idea to open a window a bit for ventilation.

3. Solar Garden Lights. You know those nice little solar garden or patio lights that you buy for outside? Go outside and grab these during a power outage and put them in a bathroom or hallway to light your way. They will stay on all night if properly charged and provide a great means for light.

4. Power Packs. Power packs are great little devices about the size of a car charger that has many uses. One of the great uses is that when charged it can provide power as any electric outlet would. You can plug in cell phone chargers and plug in a lamp. It uses battery power to do this so I would conserve the battery and only plug in a lamp with a 40 watt bulb. Just enough to light your room.


It is amazing how much you will miss and need water once you don’t have it. It is also amazing how many people never prepare for not being able to have water when the faucet no longer provides it.

You will never have too much stored water. This should always be number one on your survival kit list. Here are some simple things to do:

1. Store water jugs. You can buy water jugs that come in gallon plastic jugs like milk containers right from your grocery store. They are usually less than a dollar and are easy to store in a basement or garage.

You can even save your plastic milk jugs and fill them with water to save money. Please be sure to rotate them occasionally because yes, water does expire and go bad.

2. Catch your own water. If you have a house in town or the country, you can easily buy a plastic drum and run one of your downspouts into it to have an ample supply of water. You would need to purify the water before drinking but this also provides good water for washing and refilling the toilet tank.

3. Water purification. It is always a good idea to have some kind of water purification system handy, either by using water purification tablets or by means of boiling your drinking water.


Whether it be for a short duration or long period, you will want to have food available, especially if you have kids.

1. Canned goods. Not a bad idea to have some canned goods around. They have a good shelf life and are sturdy to store. Don’t forget the manual can opener though to keep with them.

2. Dry snacks. Keep some nutritional snack bars and/or dry cereal for emergencies.

3. Freeze dried food or MREs. Food for emergency preparedness is a must. These may not sound appetizing but they will come in handy if you are stuck for a long period of time. They are easy to prepare and have a long shelf life. Mountain House makes a great selection of this long term food.

Cooking and Heating

If the power is out, so is your furnace and electric stove. Here are some alternatives.

Cooking – Small cans of Sterno will work well for heating small things. It is not a bad idea to have a small Coleman type stove available. Yes, the same as a camping stove. These work great for any type of cooking.

Heating – The best source to stay warm is extra clothing and blankets. You can get the little hand warmers to help and you could even buy a small propane heater.

Word of Caution though…the Coleman type stoves and heaters that use propane is a fuel. They emit carbon dioxide and can harm you if you use them for a long time and don’t have some ventilation like having a window or door cracked.


If the power goes out, your cordless telephone will not work. Always have one of the old style plug in telephones that don’t require electricity to work. In a disaster, it is most likely that all telephone and cell phones will be out.

The same goes for your TV if the power is out. You can listen to the radio but I can never find a station that gives me conditions where I am at when I need it. The solution is a weather radio. This type of radio sends alerts to you when weather or conditions in your area are bad. They also have a battery backup in case the power is out.

First Aid

Do you have a first aid kit at home? You should have one ready to use and take if you need.

Family and Pet Medications

You don’t know how long you are going to be hunkered down or gone away from the home so don’t forget about medications.

If Evacuating the Home

If you have to evacuate your home due to flooding, earthquake damage, hurricane, or other disaster, there are a few things you want to grab on your way out if you can.

1. Important papers like birth certificates and insurance papers.

2. Have some cash stashed to take with you. It might be hard to find an ATM during this time.

Now What?

How do you get all of this stuff and what do you do with it?

It is a good idea to have two to three plastic tubs to keep all of this stuff in so that it is warm and dry when you need it. Put a good handful of plastic shopping bags that you get from your local store in there too. They may come in handy.

Put it in a designated meeting place in your home that everyone in your family knows to meet in an emergency. The basement is always a great place if you have one.

My home page is an emergency preparedness catalog of sorts and is a great place to start when looking for items. Your local stores will also have many items.

If you do not have time or lack the confidence, you can purchase a pre-made emergency backpack for each of your family. Sometimes called a survival backpack, earthquake preparedness kit, or Bug Out Bag, these emergency kits come equipped with quite a few things to help you survive.

This list is not all inclusive so there may be other items that you will want to add.

Have you made a Home Emergency Plan or a Family Communications Plan? They don’t take long and I have articles to help you with that.

A little planning ahead now will make a world of difference during a disaster.

I have tried to keep this very basic and simple so that the average person would not be overwhelmed and will do something to prepare.

Please drop me a comment if you like.


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