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Emergency Preparedness Checklist: What You Need To Survive

We walk you through all the essentials you want to cross off your list as your prep, stock, and store for the future.

    Whether you’re brand-new to prepping or have been in the game for quite some time, it’s always worthwhile to go back through a checklist to ensure that you have your bases covered.

    Bug out bags (3)
    Sometimes you need to hunker down, and sometimes you have to escape, but you should be ready for both.

    There’s a reason that even seasoned pilots still go through their pre-flight checklist before they ever leave the ground: it’s easy to make simple mistakes, and some mistakes can be deadly.

    To assist you in your endeavors, we’ve compiled an emergency preparedness checklist to help you to ensure that you’re as squared away for future disasters as possible.

    Hank knows.

    Keep in mind that these are our baseline suggestions. A lot of people advocate for or prep much more than this. That’s absolutely fine, and in many cases, is what you’ll want to do as well.

    This piece is mainly for those who are just jumping into the prepping boat and need a little help getting started.

    Here are our thoughts…

    Table of Contents



    Supermarket Food List
    Canned foods are never a bad place to start.

    A one-month food supply

    I would start with a one-month supply of calories for your family at a minimum. This can be accomplished relatively easily and will boost you over what 99% of the rest of America keeps stocked at home.

    Assuming you’ll need 2,500 calories/day means you’d need 75,000 calories/month for one adult per month.

    Supermarket Food List
    Beans — stack em’ deep and stack em’ high.

    I personally feel like it is wise to stock more than a month’s worth of food, but if you’re just starting, reach the one-month checkpoint first.

    Don’t want to buy expensive “survival” food? Check out our article on long-term food storage.

    A bottle of multivitamins for each member of the family

    In normal times, you should reach most of your daily vitamin and mineral needs from your diet.

    In long-term times of disaster, you’ll probably be eating what’s on hand. If you’ve primarily stocked beans and rice, multivitamins will ensure that you don’t end up with scurvy or some other form of disease caused by a deficiency.

    After a disaster, having scurvy no longer gives you celebrity status.

    Cooking & Coffee Equipment

    • Two can openers
    • Two means of off-grid cooking ability

    A flat top wood stove, rocket stove, and propane grill are examples of off-grid equipment.

    I’ve used this unit for over 10 years, and it still works great.

    Unfortunately, your Keurig won’t work without electricity.

    You might want to look into something that will still make your happy juice without power. I use a French press, though I’m not opposed to an old-fashioned cup o’ cowboy coffee.

    A mess kit for each member of your family

    In case you need to skedaddle, every member of your family needs to be able to eat while out in the woods. You can’t pack your fine china, so everybody is going to need a backpacker’s mess kit.

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons


    Water Storage & Purification for Emergencies
    Water Storage & Purification for Emergencies

    14 gallons/adult in your family

    I don’t think it’s feasible for many families to store much more than this in their homes. This amount allows you to go for two weeks.

    If you have the space to store more, go for it, but 14 gallons/adult is a good baseline.

    For more on how to store your water, check out our list of the best Water Storage Containers.

    Two canteens or water bottles/person in your family

    If you’ve ever done any form of long-distance hike whatsoever, you know that a single water bottle will not cut it.

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Two forms of water purification

    A larger purification unit for your home and a portable unit you can carry on your person is vital here.

    Consider the West Virginia chemical spill or Flint, Michigan’s water crisis. Nobody’s bugging out, but you still need the means to purify your water.

    This is where a filter like an EPIC Nano or a Berkey comes into play.

    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    If you have to head for the hills, you will want something portable like a Sawyer MINI or Lifestraw.


    Anytime there’s a disaster, people start to catch hygiene-related diseases — and die from them too.

    These are nasty little bugs that you need to be able to protect yourself against and only require minimal preparation to avoid.

    Unless otherwise stated, I would just buy two of everything here as a good starting point.

    • Two weeks of toilet paper
    • Three months of tampons/pads
    • Bar soap
    • Purell
    • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss

    Nuclear, Biological, & Chemical Threat-Specific Gear

    The threat of nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare is a possibility, so best to prepare.

    Perhaps you’ll think these preparations are severe, but these are very real threats that are only increasing in potential use. Although I would focus on the rest of the preps first, It would be prudent to be prepared.

    Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear is still in use by militaries worldwide due to the threat of NBC warfare. (Photo: Military.com)

    Seriously, don’t buy anything else — MIRA is 100% the best gas mask on the planet.

    Also, I believe this is the best piece of gear you can own to protect you against the majority of biological and chemical threats you are likely to face.

    at Mira Safety

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Yeah, nerve agents and blister agents only require skin contact to ruin your day, but if we’re following the Pareto Principle here, a gas mask is the way to go.

    CM6M Shooting
    Shooting an AR-15 with the MIRA CM-6M Gas Mask

    Baby-Specific Gear

    Have kids? They require particular preparations — especially babies.

    Baby bottles
    • Formula: keep expiration dates in mind, but I recommend keeping at least a month’s supply on hand.
    • Diapers: keep at least a two-month supply on hand and take the kid’s future growth into account. If you try living without diapers, you or your family may end up getting sick.
    • Wipes
    • Desitin
    • Fingernail clippers

    Medicine/Injury Care

    DIY First Aid Kit Home Kit
    DIY First Aid Kit Home Kit

    Over-the-Counter Medicines

    This will vary wildly depending on the individual and if they have any pre-existing health conditions, but this is a pretty good stock of standard OTC medications that will help you battle the majority of what life throws your way.

    • Benadryl
    • Aspirin, Acetaminophen
    • Nyquil
    • Pepto Bismol, Tums
    • Zyrtec


    Antibiotics can help stave off severe infections and diseases that would otherwise be untreatable with OTC medicine. If you can swing the price, I highly recommend picking up a box of antibiotics from Jase Medical.

    Injury Care and Diagnosis

    Mountain Man Medical Yellowstone
    The Mountain Man Medical Yellowstone Trauma Kit has many of the items discussed below.

    Here are a few basic items that can help treat the standard day-to-day injuries that may occur in a post-disaster environment. Additionally, I recommend a few items that can help diagnose injury and illness so that you can get ahead of the curve when it comes to treatment options.

    • Neosporin
    • Hydrocortisone cream
    • Burn gel
    • IcyHot
    • Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide
    • Tourniquet for each adult
    • Thermometer
    • Blood pressure cuff
    • Stethoscope
    • Pulse oximeter
    • A box of medical gloves
    • QuickClot
    • An assortment of band-aids


    FRS Radios
    Communication within your group is essential.


    Plenty of flashlights help ensure that nobody gets injured stumbling about through the dark.

    • Flashlight for each member of your family
    • Headlamp for each member of your family
    • Three LED lanterns for your home
    • Batteries to keep these devices up and running
    • Candles
    These two lamps remind me of the pill from Osmosis Jones.

    This is a good starting point. It allows you to spread light sources about the house in the event of a power outage. The bigger your home, the more LED lanterns you should consider.


    This one is pretty straightforward, but you’d be surprised how often it is forgotten. Keeping your core temperature regulated is essential to survival — so make sure you don’t freeze.

    • Cold weather clothing
    • Cold weather gloves
    • Cold weather hats
    • Blankets
    • A poncho for each member of your family


    Tent and bug out bag
    Tent and bug-out bag.

    If you ever have to leave the comfort of your own home, having appropriate sleeping amenities will prevent you and your family from getting caught in the elements.

    • A cold weather sleeping bag for each member of your family
    • A tent that can accommodate your family
    • A sleeping pad for each member of your family


    Whether it is preparing, repairing, building, destroying, or even defensive usage in a pinch, tools are vital to being able to tackle unexpected situations.

    A pocketknife for each adult

    If you are wearing pants, you should be carrying a pocketknife — full-stop.

    As you may well know, knives are one of the most utilitarian things you can carry. If you are planning on stashing some away for bug-out or survival usage, look into blades that have good toughness and high corrosion resistance.

    Mora Knives
    Mora Knives are cheap and hard to beat for the money.

    Two fire extinguishers

    Whether it’s rioters, EMP, wildfires, or a clogged chimney, you will want to keep fire extinguishers in your home. Fires can be devastating and can easily destroy your entire emergency stores and shelter if you don’t have a way to combat them.


    This one depends on where you live…

    If you live in an apartment or condo, you don’t need one of these. However, if you live in a house, have a woodstove, or live out in the sticks, owning a chainsaw is warranted.

    Echo — one of the best chainsaw brands out there.


    Your use case may vary depending on the type of disaster and where you live, but being armed is essential.

    You can find plenty of survival-oriented rifles, but there’s something to be said about the ubiquity of the AR-15 platform and its flexibility for all-purpose use. At the end of the day, make sure you pick something you can find ammo for.

    Food is important, but don’t neglect your weapons and ammo.
    Be like Santa Claus. Check your list twice.

    Final Thoughts

    You’ll be prepared for the bulk of disasters if you have this list squared away.

    Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but it is a good place to start before adding other things down the road.

    Featured Image Survival Food-wm

    My advice?

    Hammer out your food and water before you do anything else. Get a month of those two items stocked away, and then move on through the rest.

    Are there other preparations that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below. If you are interested in more prepping resources, check out our article on the best survival and prepping books.

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    1 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      "Are there other preparations that you think should be on this list? "

      If you include dried beans.... grind them into a 'flour' ... and add to other dishes if desired or make 'bean Patties' from the flour for carrying and eating on the go, add a little meat and some pieces of dried fruit yo the patty prep when you can stop and prepare and you have a good on the go meal you do not need to stop to prepsre later.if you need to keep moving. Dried beans take a lot of water and time to prepare properly, the 'flour' takes a lot less to prepare and doesn't need to be pre soaked like whole dried beans.

      Adding the flour to dishes you are already preparing will use those juices and adds the same nutritional value you would get from whole dried beans. Plus you can get more beans into a container if they are ground to flour first thus less 'containers' to pack/carry if you need to bug out.

      August 3, 2022 7:33 am
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