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Are you prepared for the unexpected? There’s no need to go into full “zombie attack” mode and there’s also no need to live in fear. Here’s a basic prepper list that will help get you on your feet and get you started into the world of simple prepping.
As the summer season starts to approach and the possibility for more natural disasters comes into reality, do you think you are ready? If a tornado came through your neighborhood tomorrow and wiped out power, clean water, and shelter, what will your family do?
It seems like I’ve heard more and more ads on the radio lately for Ready.gov and survival prepping. I’ve even seen billboards around town! Every time I see or hear the ads I remind myself that we are ready and I’m glad that I’ve prepared.
Where we live we’ve already faced flooding, fire, tornadoes, blizzards, and more. We’ve got to be ready for just about anything! A general emergency kit based off a good prep list will prepare you for most occasions, although if your area is prone to a specific type of emergency you may need to alter your kit or add to it to make sure you are well prepared.
Emergency Prepper List
My survival essentials list below is based on the info given to us by Ready.gov with my added recommendations.
Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Make sure your water is stored in hard plastic containers such as empty vinegar bottles or 2-liter soda pop bottles. Do not store water in milk jugs, they are not made for long term use. This container is our favorite for water storage because it’s not a clear container.
- Also, make sure to pour out your water storage every few months and replace it with fresh water. You may want to consider a Berkey Water Filter System. We have had one for many years and LOVE it.
- Check out this article for more info on Stockpiling Water.
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Make sure that this is food that your family will eat! Don’t stock up on freeze-dried foods if they won’t eat any of it.
- Three days is a pretty minimal supply of food. If you are really looking to prepare for the future I would recommend no less than a 2-4 week food stockpile.
- Here’s how to Build a Stockpile on $5 a week.
- And here are some ideas on what foods should be in that stockpile.
- Keep your food stockpile in rotation. Do not let foods sit in the back of your pantry for years or even for months at a time. Be sure to be eating through and replacing your stockpiled items on a regular basis.
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
- Make sure you get the Weather Radio that sets off an alarm when an alert is issued! You may be in bed sleeping and not paying attention to the alarm and be unaware of the danger. A tornado can happen just as easily at night as it can during the day.
- You may also consider getting a Police Scanner so you can stay in tune with the local police departments and fire stations during an emergency.
- Know how to read the codes that your weather radio puts out!
Flashlight and extra batteries
- Or get a hand crank flashlight!
- Make sure you keep one in each room so you can easily find them in the dark. Give one to the kids as well, it can help them feel safer.
First aid kit
- Our first aid kit has both conventional healing items such as bandaids and surgical tape but also natural items such as a beeswax salve for burns.
Whistle to signal for help
Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- A high-quality air purifier is a good investment too as long as you have the electricity to use it.
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- I’d go further than this and get a full small tool kit if you don’t already have one. Plus make sure you put it somewhere where you can find it!
Manual can opener for food
- And make sure it’s a can opener that actually works! Buy a cheap one too (the kind that just punches a hole in the can) just in case, for backup.
- We really like the ones that are laminated or covered in hard plastic so they can’t get wet or dirty. If your local maps don’t have this feature you might want to cover them in contact paper.
Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.
- I second the cell phone solar charger. We’ve already used ours on many different occasions when we’ve lost power.
Above is the basic survival prepping list provided by Ready.gov. Here are some items I would definitely add to the basic kit.
- A few extra warm outfits for each member of the family. A light, easy to store jacket would be a good bonus as well.
- Baby supplies if needed.
- Extra prescriptions.
- Mylar Blankets
Make sure to put your kit or items in a place that is easily accessible by everyone in the family. Also, put it in some kind of waterproof containers, such as a 5-gallon bucket or a large plastic tote. For more info on the topic of building emergency kits you may want to also check out these articles:
- Building a Mini Emergency Kit
- Homestead Living
- Create a 3 to 6 Month Stockpile
- Stockpiling Water
- Prepping on a Budget
This Prepper List article was originally published on Little House Living in April 2013. It has been updated as of March 2020.