Obviously, the best time to get prepared for a disaster or an epidemic is not when a serious disruptive event is upon us. Prices of goods would be lower, we’d not be in panic mode and could process with common sense and a calm spirit — we’d make better decisions.
Besides toilet paper, there is so much more to consider!
I admit, I’ve felt some urgency to start preparing for the last 18 months, but I didn’t know exactly why. In some ways I’ve been working on being prepared since our children were small, when it dawned on me that we were responsible for their little lives.
53% do not have a minimum 3-day supply of non-perishable food and water at home.
Our budget would not allow me to gather all the items below overnight, so I started slowly. These are all non-perishables that you can put aside as income is available.
Depending on the size of your family and your expected usage (under less than ideal conditions), calculate what YOUR family will need and make a plan—a ‘care plan’ as we used to call it in nursing— preferably one for each person.
You can download or print this partial chart!
Now For What We Have Done To Be Prepared:
Clean water: If you’re dependent on local city water, what will you do if the water system is compromised for a week or two or longer? If the situation is dire, you could get by on about one quart of drinking water per day. The general rule of thumb is to have at least one gallon per person per day for at least two weeks, preferably four.
In an emergency situation, you should drink two quarts (half a gallon) of water a day – more if you’re in a hot climate, sick, pregnant, or a child. The other half gallon can then be used for hygiene (thanks in advance).
You can run rain, pool or even stream water through your Berkey filters and still have pure, uncontaminated water to drink if the electrical grid is down for a length of time. It purifies both treated water and untreated raw water from such sources as remote lakes, streams, stagnant ponds and water supplies in foreign countries, where regulations may be substandard at best.
The single best investment we’ve made was getting a Berkey water filter and extra filters. Water Even If There’s NO Electricity: We Chose the Berkey You will need Green Scotch Brite pads for cleaning filters.
For those with a 4″ well-casing, you can add a frost-free hand pump for water without electricity. We saved for this long ago and have never regretted it.
Self-Protection: Our arsenal is outside of the “scope” of this post 😉 But I will mention SABRE Tactical Stun Gun & LED Flashlight as a nice personal backup (with training) recommended by sheriffs.
Health Needs: Consider children, pets, and medicines. Write out your needs. For ideas: My Complete Guide to a No-Side-Effect Medicine Cabinet.
Power: Consider a generator matched to your needs, but you need to have a finite fuel source in storage.
Communication: (besides devices that still work) A wind-up emergency radio
We’ve tried to get as many of these supplies locally as possible (avoiding Amazon) to support our local economy.
Equipment, survival type:
Gorilla tape, regular duct tape, masking tape (keep in a cool place so it won’t get sticky!)
Packages of BIC lighters, plenty of matches in ziplock bags, some storm-proof matches, plenty of dry tinder or dryer lint
Bags of Epsom Salts (w/ no additives) for sore muscle soaks, drawing splinters, soaking wounds, detoxing
Candles, many sizes: tea lights; flat, wide, chunky candles
Plastic bags, esp. heavy mil contractor bags, (use as tarp, poncho, wind protection – get the best you can afford) (keep old grocery bags)
Tarps with reinforced grommets, (store in plastic they come in)
Paracord, 7 strand
Blankets, high quality sleeping bags
Thick plastic sheeting
Socks, wool and cotton, protect your feet
Medical supplies: Get a First Aid Only kit OR make your own— consider a good first aid guide, a tourniquet, blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, scissors, masks, wound dressings, tape, bandages, ace bandages, lidocaine spray, topical antibiotic, eye wash, etc.
For remedies and supplements by category see My Complete Guide to a No-Side-Effect Medicine Cabinet
Never be without toilet paper. Put 4 rolls in 2 gallon Ziplocs and put 1 bag in each car, one in the garage, one under each sink in the house. That way, regardless of what disaster occurs – you are prepared.
Longer term needs I like to have in hand to be prepared:
- Bleach, splash-proof, medicine dropper to disinfect water if no alternative (see Berkey above)
- Much safer than bleach, 3% Hydrogen peroxide is recommended by the EPA for use in Healthcare, Institutional, and household use and kills coronavirus on laundry, skin, and surfaces
- Hand sanitizer and wipes: store-bought hand wipes, baby wipes, I can also made my own with castile soap, olive oil and ess. oils.
- DIY Hand Wash kills viruses and bacteria: 3% hydrogen peroxide diluted 1:1 with plain water. Soak hands for 30 seconds and do not rinse, then dry.
- Gloves, nitrile, latex, etc.
- Luggable Loo is very inexpensive for the convenience it will add to life with no water. You’ll need bags.
- Measure the dish soap. Don’t add the same amount of dish detergent as you would when using laundry detergent. If you add too much dish detergent, it will foam up and spill out of the machine. Always add the correct amount:
- Add 1 teaspoon for small loads; 2 teaspoons for medium loads; 3 teaspoons for large loads.
If no electricity, folding dryer racks, wash tubs, clothesline and clothespins (from Lehman’s catalog)
Trash: Heavy duty trash bags (high 3 mil), kitchen garbage sized, Ziploc bags, regular trash bags
Dental care: toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, dental pick
Plenty of underwear, socks, sunhats, ball caps, gloves (both warm and cold weather)
Hair supplies: clips, elastic hair bands, basic shampoo, conditioner, combs, brushes
Eye care: extra Contact lenses, spare glasses, CL cleaner, spare sunglasses
Paper goods: besides TP, paper towels, enough paper plates, cups, disposable utensils to get by for a while
Pet needs, pet food, litter?
Paper and pencils/pens
Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Heirloom seeds. Hybrid seeds cannot reproduce in many cases. (Learn how to garden now, so you know what you are doing if/when you really need to!) A small kiddie pool makes a quick, cheap raised single-season garden bed. Download directions and save with seeds:
- plant potatoes
- straw bale gardening, cold-frame gardening
- gardening in partial shade
- Back to Eden gardening
Basic cleaning supplies: Baking soda, white vinegar, your favorite cleaners, 5 gallon buckets, gloves, rags, paper towels, various spray bottles
Stock up on Dish soap if there is no electricity! (Dawn removes grease) Scotch Brite pads, scouring powder
Wash cloths, (I buy inexpensive 12 packs at Walmart), save clean rags and old towels, save clean old clothes for cloths
Cooking needs: (you may never need any of this, but it’s good to have some level of preparedness)
- Have on hand propane canisters, large size and small, an outdoor grill with at least 1 stove burner
- Cast iron (non-stick) or other skillets, Dutch oven, stout scissors for cutting, good set of knives, 2 manual can openers, tongs
- Pots, pans, stainless utensils, 4-5 day ice chest, big stock pot for boiling water
- Fire pit accessories where you CAN cook if needed, grate, coffee pot with stay-cool handle (supply of readily cut wood)
- Do you have a wood stove? That’s both heat and cooking surface.
- Green Scotch Brite pads to clean pots and pans
For hunters: Morton Coarse Kosher Salt (quantities) for preserving meats, 5 gallon buckets with lids. (The salt solution was judged ready when it would float a raw egg. This solution would require approximately 4 lbs of salt to 2.5 gallons of water.) Preserving meat without salt
Prepare with Nutritionally-Dense Foods:
Freezers are grid-dependent appliances. See my post Food Storage: 10 Foods That Last Practically Forever
I keep a good quantity of pasta sauces, curries, and other canned foods in glass and cans. Canned salmon, tinned sardines, raw honey, almond/peanut butter, etc.
Beans and rice are long-lasting foods that provide a complete protein when combined. You can opt for different types of legumes that you might like better or find easier to digest than pinto beans, like high nutrition garbanzos, red kidney beans, or lentils.
You can purchase high-quality freeze-dried food from Valley Food Storage, Legacy Food Storage or Wise Emergency Food. I plan to learn to make pemmican to stockpile some meat. Pemmican is considered to be a survival super-food.
Learn how to identify and forage native food – a skill that has been lost.
Be prepared to Create a “sick room”:
People can get hurt, catch colds, and get fevers. You can’t just run out to the store easily when there is a pandemic going on. You have to have all of the supplies you need ready.
Make sure you have the common painkillers and prescription meds, etc. See My Complete Guide to a No-Side-Effect Medicine Cabinet.. And see “sanitation” above.
Bug Out Bag
To make my husband a BOB for Christmas, for final ideas I went to the Sensible Prepper. See his list below:
Bug Out Bag Contents: Total Cost (approx. may change) $313.76 plus tax
- Morph 26 Back Pack $18.97
- Leather Gloves $9.56
- 550 Paracord $5.97
- Maglite Flashlight $22.32
- Energizer Headlamp $19.97
- Duracell AA Batteries $6.18
- Water Bladder $9.97
- Arctic Watch Cap $5.00
- Waxed Cotton Ball Cap $7.47
- Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit $19.97
- First Aid Kit $15.88
- Survival Reflective Tent $8.74
- SS Thermos $18.67
- Cotton Balls 200pk $1.88
- Petroleum Jelly $.97
- Survival Food Bars $4.97
- 4- 1 Whistle $3.97
- Gorilla Tape $5.97
- Coleman Bio-Wipes $3.97
- Dust mask $.97
- Dickies Work Socks $8.77
- Sawyer Mini Water filter $19.97
- Safety Glasses $5.97
- Suspension Multi- Tool $26.84
- Tealight Candles 50ct $2.33
- Stanley Wonder Bar Tool $8.97
- Gerber Prodigy Fixed Blade Knife $49.97
We personally have not done every last thing listed to be prepared, but I have expanded this post to stimulate thinking on what you may need!
Be safe and be blessed!
Are there any things you want to add in the comments?
We can thrash around for answers about what to do, but our God can direct us in a way we never could by ourselves.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
~Jesus speaking in John 16:33
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”