Use these checklists and recommendations to be prepared for at least three days. Everything you need to be prepared at home, on the go, and at work.
Everyone, and I do mean everyone, should have on hand enough food, water, and other supplies to last for at least three days (a.k.a. 72- hour emergency kits), and preferably one to two weeks.
I understand that it is hard to focus on this task when the skies are blue and the birds are chirping.
Nothing is threatening, so why worry now? Because it’s usually too late once a disaster strikes or is close at hand.
When the threat of a hurricane or major winter storm comes around, what’s the first thing that always happens?
Swarms of people run to the local supermarkets, where they clean out the shelves. Then they run to the gas station and empty the tanks.
So what do you think will happen when a REAL disaster hits? If you’re not already prepped you likely won’t ever get the chance to be.
Short-Term Preparedness Checklist
The easiest way to get started is with a list, so here I have laid out an easy to follow prep checklist for you.
You don’t have to go in this exact order either, so feel free to skip around. Just make sure you tackle everything if you really want to be prepared.
Other Popular Checklists By Us
Simple print out this page, do each item on this list, and viola…you’re ready!
- Build and place 72-hour emergency survival kits (a.k.a. bug out bags) in your cars and in a convenient location in your home and office that makes it easy to grab when you need it.
- Talk with your loved ones and friends, determine a local meeting place with a large open area, such as a park or school, where you can gather if needed during emergencies.
- Make sure that all members of your family know how and where to shut off the water, gas, and electricity for your home.
- Store at least one week’s supply of food inside your house.
- Store at least one week’s supply of water, water treatment chemicals, and water filters in your house.
- Keep a survival manual, such as the tried and true S.A.S. Survival Handbook in each car with your 72-hour kit.
- Take the time to get proper first aid and CPR training for all capable members of your family.
- Arrange for an out-of-state emergency contact. After an emergency, it might actually be easier to call long distance than locally (or your family may be separated and need an outside contact).
- Locate your nearest emergency shelter. Practice the route to the shelter, if it’s not conveniently located. Or better yet, establish your own secret BOL (Bug Out Location).
- Make sure that you have smoke detectors in your home. Change their batteries at least once each year. This might sound too simple, but working smoke detectors save countless lives every year.
- Purchase at least one fire extinguisher and keep it in your kitchen.
- Store your important papers in one easily accessible location, preferably in a waterproof and flameproof container, such as fireproof envelopes. Place them in an easy to grab location, such as a closet shelf or under your bed.
- Discuss your emergency preparedness plans with all members of your household. Keep the discussion light and positive, not doom and gloom (and here’s a guide for talking to your kids about prepping).
72-Hour Survival Kits
These kits, sometimes known as “grab-and-run kits” or “bug out bags” should be readily accessible and cover the basic daily needs of your family for a period of at least three days.
You might want to purchase ready-made 72-hour kits, or you can put together your own. We highly recommend building your own bug out bag because the quality will almost always be better.
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Don’t make dad the pack mule either, families should divide up the stores between several easily grabbed small backpacks. Having only one BOB (Bug Out Bag) means you’re in deep trouble if something happens to that one pack, and the person stuck carrying it will tire faster than the rest of the family.
72-hour survival kit:
Portable radio, preferably a hand crank or combination model powered with solar cells so that it works with dead or no batteries. Many of these also charge cell phones.
First aid kit with first aid and survival handbooks.
Water, water purification chemicals, and/or purifying filter. Enough to provide one gallon per person per day.
Waterproof and windproof matches in a waterproof container, and a butane lighter.
Wool or pile blankets (avoid cotton), because they are warm when wet. Fiber-pile, mountaineering-quality sleeping bags are great, if you have the space and can carry the added weight.
A heat-reflective space blanket.
Flashlight with spare batteries, rechargeable batteries, or a solar or rechargeable flashlight.
Candles (useful for lighting fires with damp wood) and glow sticks.
Basic toiletries, including toilet paper, toothbrush, soap, razor, shampoo, sanitary napkins (also good for severe bleeding wounds), several packs of dental floss (also good for tying things).
A high quality multi-tool knife, with scissors (for first aid), can opener, blades, pliers, and screwdrivers.
Map, compass, and whistle.
Sewing kit with extra-heavy-duty thread.
Terrycloth towel or dishcloth.
Knives, forks, spoons (or sporks).
Tent and/or roll of plastic sheeting for shelter.
Extra clothing, such as long underwear, hat, jacket, waterproof mittens, leather work gloves, rain coat or poncho, sturdy boots, and so on.
Entertainment for kids (cards, dice, mini board games, color books, crayons, etc) and other special needs (medicines, diapers, extra glasses, etc).
Kitchen-size garbage bags for garbage and toilet sewage. A few large hefty bags can double for raincoats, ground cloths, and shelter too.
At least 50 feet of mil-spec 550 paracord, 100ft preferred.
First Aid Kits
Get a decent first aid kit. For $20-$30 you can buy excellent kits with everything you need, so there’s no excuse. Alternatively you can build your own.
Here are suggestions for a modest first aid kit:
- 2 Ace bandages
- 1 box of adhesive bandages (at least 12 BandAids) of varying sizes, with at least two square bandages 2″ or larger
- 6 butterfly bandages
- 1 large roll of 2″ cloth adhesive tape (may be torn or cut to smaller widths)
- Several 4″ x 4″ sterile nonadhesive dressings
- Three 3″-wide gauze rolls
- 2 triangular bandages
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- Mouth shield for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (precaution against AIDS, tuberculosis, and hepatitis)
- 3 sterile applicator sticks, cotton tipped
- Alcohol and/or 10 prepackaged alcohol squares
- Instant cold pack/ice pack
- First aid manual
- Safety pins and sterile needle
- Surgical rubber gloves (several pairs)
- Pain reliever tablets (aspirin, acetaminophen, etc.)
- Antidiarrhea medication
- Syrup of ipecac (to induce vomiting)
Add the following items to prepare a more advanced first aid kit:
- Snake bite kit
- Emergency suture kit
- Splinting material (air splint, traction splint, hard splint, etc.)
- Tourniquet Thumb/finger splint Burn gel and “second skin”
- Echinacea, colloidal silver, and grapefruit seed extract natural antibiotics (internal)
- Tea tree oil natural antifungal and antibiotic (external only!)
- Single-edged razor blades and surgical scalpel kit
- Kelley hemostats
- Surgical blunt tip and pointed scissors
- Silver nitrate to cauterize bleeding
- Prescription antibiotics and painkillers
- Sterile thread
Check expiration dates and try to rotate stock every year. Each car should have a first aid kit and simple go bag. Your house should have at least one bug out bag and your office should have a W.E.B. (Work Emergency Bag).
Please note that three days is a minimal time period to keep your pack light and portable, you should also have at least one or two weeks supply of food stored in or around your home.
Prep now instead of later, otherwise “later” always seems to turn into “some day”, which really means “never”.