emergency preparedness

How To Prepare For An Emergency

From destructive hurricanes and massive flooding to the devastating earthquake in Mexico to record fires in California.... I mean, damn.

If you had any doubt or forgot how powerful nature is, we’ve gotten one heck of a reminder lately.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to prepare for an emergency. I know it’s impossible to prepare for every scenario, but we can do something. I know I could be more prepared, and maybe you can too.

I’ve scoured the internet to find out what the experts recommend. The websites are confusing, and it’s hard to know where to begin. Maybe that’s why so many us don’t have an emergency kit.

I’ve simplified the process for busy people who don’t want to think about creating an emergency kit (but know it’s important).

In case of an emergency, you should have basic items like food, water, first aid supplies, sanitation and hygiene items, tools, clothing, important documents, and contact numbers. They should be compact and accessible. It's often best to put together your own emergency supply kit rather than buying one at a store so you can personalize it.

In addition to items below, consider adding "comfort items" such as coffee or tea, a deck of cards or board games, a bottle of alcohol. If you have children, include toys. I’m including links to products to make it easy, some of which may be affiliate links.  

You should have a kit wherever you spend a majority of your time. We all need at least one kit at home, but if you spend a lot of time in your car or office, consider having a kit there as well. Consider this when purchasing supplies (you may want to purchase multiples). Also, review your kits every year. Replace expired items and update it as your family’s needs change (new baby/pet/health changes/etc).


Your home kit will consist of a “grab and go” duffle bag packed and available in case you have to leave your home quickly, and a plastic bin or two with home-based supplies. Put all items in airtight plastic bags (like ziplock) to keep them protected.

Keep your kit in a designated place and make sure everyone that lives in the house knows where it is. 

In your bag:  

Emergency Supplies

  • Hand crank radio
  • Powerful Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Local maps (if you are a AAA member, you can pick them up for free)
  • Cash (minimum $25)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Copies of I.D. cards, passports, insurance policies, bank account records
  • Photos of family members and pets (in case you are separated)
  • Paper and Pen

Personal Supplies

  • Sturdy shoes to provide protection from broken glass/nails/etc (old sneakers will work)
  • Gloves (heavy and durable for cleaning up debris)
  • Personal Hygiene Kit (soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, brush, deodorant, laundry soap, feminine products)
  • Cell phone charger
  • Essential medications/eyeglasses (if necessary)

In your plastic bin:

Food/Kitchen items

  • Water (2 gallons per person)
  • Food (ideally for 3 days)
    • High energy foods (peanut butter, jelly, crackers, protein bars, trail mix; foods that will not increase thirst)
    • Ready to eat canned food and manual can opener (store in a cool, dry place)
    • Avoid foods like rice, pasta and dry beans that require a great deal of water to prepare.
  • Eating Utensils (1 set of cups, plates, and utensils per person)
  • Baby food (if applicable)
  • Pet food (if applicable)
  • Vitamins
  • Review and restock food once a year.

Home Emergency Supplies

First Aid Kit

I suggest buying a First Aid kit from Amazon and supplementing with what you need. Store your first aid supplies in a waterproof case and keep it freshly stocked.

Here's a small streamlined first aid kit and here is a more comprehensive first aid kit. Both are great options. 


Be prepared for at least 24 hours. Gather the following items and put them in a small bag or backpack that you can keep at your desk.

  • Bottled water (I suggest two 1.5 liter plastic bottles)
  • Nonperishable food (nutrition bars, trail mix)
  • Change of clothes and pair of sturdy shoes (old sneakers will work)
  • Powerful Flashlight
  • Hand crank radio
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Small first aid kit
  • Essential medications/eyeglasses (if necessary)


In case you are stranded, keep emergency supplies in a small bag or backpack in your trunk. This will make them more convenient if you need to walk.

In your bag:

  • Bottled water (I suggest two 1.5 liter plastic bottles)
  • Nonperishable food (nutrition bars, trail mix)
  • Change of clothes and pair of sturdy shoes (old sneakers will work)
  • Hand crank radio
  • Powerful Flashlight
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Local map and compass
  • Paper and pen
  • Work Gloves
  • Toilet paper
  • Baby wipes
  • First aid kit
  • Blanket
  • Essential medications/eyeglasses (if necessary)

In your trunk:

  • Small fire extinguisher
  • Emergency signal device (light sticks, battery-type flasher, reflector, etc.)
  • Small mirror for signaling
  • Rope for towing, rescue, etc.
  • Tools (pliers, adjustable wrench, screwdriver, etc.)
  • Jumper cables


And there you have it! I suggest printing this post and using it as a checklist.

If you found this helpful, let me know by clicking the "like" button below and sharing with friends. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment.

Thanks for reading and being here! Now let's get prepared and hope we never have to use our kits!