Things You Did To Prepare For Emergencies


So between the California earthquakes, a literal tornado that went through Portland last week, and a Bad With money podcast about death, I thought a thread devoted to emergency preparation would be a good motivator for me. Any emergency qualifies, be it a medical emergency or the zombie apocalypse, whatever you’re thinking ahead about!

I have some minimal earthquake/fire supplies put aside. Yesterday I started my annual task of refilling my stored water containers-I just used a gallon or two to water the garden and refilled the containers. I plan to replenish the approximately 8 gallons of storage we have and also fill one of our glass brewing carboys that is sitting empty right now to increase the amount stored.

I’ve also been thinking it’s time to get our shit together and make a will and advanced directive. Putting that on my summer to do list.


PTF! And calling @Able_Jack who is expert at this.

We have go bags in our front hall closet with some clothes, old tennis, meds, some food, water purification stuff, and general first aid/survival supplies. We also have emergency kits in both cars, although now that we’re selling our truck we’ll need to figure out what to do with those items.

Now that a bub is on the way, and we have embryos we have specific care instructions for, we have a will in the works.

1 Like

I keep cash in the house (when power goes down ATMs and credit card machines go down). We also keep water in the pantry, and I keep a minimum of like 2 weeks of shelf stable food that requires no heating to eat. I can’t stockpile my medication unfortunately but I do keep a supply of first aid stuff on hand. We also have flashlights and waterproof gear and that kind of thing (rechargeable batteries).

When there is a big storm warning I fill the tub with water too. Husband and I also have meet points chosen for disaster scenarios, one nearby the house and one nearby work. I like churches (even though I’m not religious) since they are usually super solid old structures and often get emergency services first, they are also usually on the register so people are more likely to be able to find you if you’re at a church. The red cross has a good list too:


We have wills and shelter-in-place supplies as recommended by Able_Jack . Should probably have a go-bag, maybe that’s a project for August.

1 Like

I think we’re probably covered, although I need to recheck the go bag in my vehicle. I think it has winter clothing still. That’s not really a problem unless there’s a catastrophe that affects both home and grad school city, since the back up plan for now is to transfer from one to the other. Home is basically a bunker, so wildfire is about the only thing that would drive us out. In the case of rioting or zombie apocalypse, we’re far safer at home than on the road. We have several weeks of progressively unappetizing shelf-stable food just because of the pantry habits, and between the water heater and the toilets we have over 50 gallons of potable water, plus a spring. In the city we have less food, about a week, and more like 40 gallons of water because the water heater is smaller and there’s only one bathroom. What we don’t have in the city is a way to cook or any back up heat. That’s probably something to remedy.


I’ve started a go-bag but haven’t finished it. This is a good reminder to do that ASAP as we head into wildfire season.

We have decent shelter-at-home supplies but I need to bone up on those too. I have a mental block here in that we’re a shared house of six adults, and I don’t want to be responsible for making sure that there’s enough food and water stockpiled for six adult humans; they should be responsible for that themselves! Still, in the case of an emergency, I am also 5000% going to be sharing my food and water with my housemates, so I need to bite the bullet and make sure we have enough food and water to last six people for a week or more.

In the case of electricity issues, we have an outdoor grill; I try to keep us stocked up on charcoal so that we could do that if there was no way we could cook on the electric stove for weeks.

1 Like

I like this thread!
I have nothing prepared. I just moved and should really get on this.
I do have a well established backpack with a few small items in it, but I’d like to add more and to get an emergency carry harness for my dog, just in case. I know that makes me sound nutty, but honestly I’m not going anywhere without her.

Anyone have good ideas for paperwork (will, directives, etc.) for someone who doesn’t have anyone in their lives? I have a few animal charities as my beneficiaries, and could be into giving my tangible assets to a human-based charitable organization. I guess someone related to me would decide when to pull my plug though, by default… so I should make that clear somehow?

1 Like

Think about who will get the dog if something happens to you, and talk to that person. Then put it in a will with some money for dog care.


Gosh, I’ve been indulging in Round Two of sulking, but disaster prep is like catnip to me.

I’ve got one Go Bag, a Sandpiper of California brand. The model is appropriately named the Bugout Bag . I kept next to the front door of the house. I used to have one in the car, but I’m currently carless. I used to have one at work, but my current billet can make it’s own water and power.

Without further ado, the content! Listed in what I consider the order of importance:

1. Clothing : 2 pairs of wool socks, 2 pairs of cotton underwear, long sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, woolly hat, balaclava, sneakers, bandana, poncho. Frugal bonus - I used ‘quitter’ uniforms for the pants and shirt. With the patches ripped off, they’re just very sturdy blue clothing. Ripstop material for the win.

2. Documents : 1 encrypted USB with scans of all my vital documents. A hard copy list of friends and their phone numbers. A photograph of my family.

3. Shelter : 1 blue tarp, 5x7", 2 packs of 550 paracord, mylar emergency blanket.

4. Tools : multi-tool, folding knife, safety pins, duct tape, 2 N95 masks, headlamp (batteries rubber banded to the outside), flashlight (batteries stored backwards inside), 2 extra batteries for each light source, local area map.

5. Fire : pack of waterproof matches, ziplock of dryer lint, 2 disposable lighters, flint (honestly, I never practice with the flint, and it’s more for the coooool factor that keeping me warm)

6. Food & Water : camelback bladder, dropper bottle of bleach, Sawyer brand mini water filtration, 2 empty plastic water bottles, 1 ‘broke down’ MRE and 3 Clif bars.

7. First aid kit : small, think band-aids and insect repellent, not major trauma

8. Hygiene : wetwipes, hand sanitizer, mini-roll of toilet paper, shammie towel

9. Cash : $1,000 in small-ish bills.

I won’t lie, the bastard is heavy. I’m not prepping for the apocalypse. I’m prepping to evacuate to some sort of harbor of safe refuge, and have some self-carried resources once I arrive. Prepping for the not-insane.

The final part of my prep is to drill actually grabbing the bag. Come the fire alarm, it’s amazing what you can plumb forget.


This is what I aim for. If an earthquake hits, or another big winter storm, I want to know I’m pretty well covered. I’m not gonna be self sufficient in an apocalypse on what I have, and that’s not my goal.

I need to do the USB drive, good reminder! We bought one on Black Friday and I forgot to load it up and put it in our packs.

The one “crazy prepper” item I have is potassium iodide in case of nuclear war. West coast and all the nuke testing scared me, not gonna lie, and it wasn’t very expensive.


I don’t currently have a home, but when I did I kept some shelter-in-place supplies. In my order of importance:

1. Water: in Seattle this was a purification system, and a massive fresh water lake 1/4 mile away. In other locations, it’s been 5 gallon jugs. Put a reminder on your google calendar to dump and refill every 3 months.

2. Food: this was mostly just pantry supplies. Just keep a few extra cans in stock, and you’re set.

3. Heat: again in Seattle, I didn’t bother. But if you live in Canada, you’re going to want something.

4. Coleman lantern: stored with the emergency supplies, batteries installed backwards. Never touch it, even for convenience, unless the power goes out.

5. Camping stove: a jet boil, nothing fancy. For the love of god, don’t use it inside.

6. CRB Supplies: a gigantic tarp; 5mil plastic sheeting, much duct tape.

7. Weapon: a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Obviously this one is contentious. Don’t try to change my mind, and I won’t try to change yours.

The rest of the stuff I’d want in an emergency - clothing, first aid supplies, entertainment - is readily available inside the house. No need to gather individually. But fer serious, don’t touch that lantern.


The encrypted USB is a good one for the to do list! I have a nonencrypted USB with it that includes photos of our possessions for insurance purposes, but none of the vital documents are on there.

I’ve also created a binder with a lot of our basic contact/emergency information, meetup spots, local hotels, doctor/dentist/vet/utility information, work contact info, etc etc. Also we keep a few hundred in cash with our passports and social security cards that we occasionally raid when we don’t want to go to the ATM…probably time to check up on that as well.

I try to always leave the house with the following items on me:
Charged external phone battery and wall charger
Pencil case with pencils, sharpies, pens
Pocket knife
Water bottle
Altoids tin filled with a variety of over the counter medication - Dayquil tablets, cough drops, ibuprofin, my allergy meds, etc. It looks SO sketchy when I take a random loose pill out of there :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Sensible shoes and weather-appropriate coat
*Bike lights
*Spare bike tube
*Hand bike pump
*Lengths of tie line
*spare garbage bag

*items in my bike bag

Basically, I organize my bag so I never have to do a run to a pharmacy or bike shop when I’m out and about.


In a bug-out situation DH and myself are likely to each be carrying a ~30lb little boat unit (NO we are not jettisoning them! :point_up::smile:), so we have the difficulty of needing to provide for more people but the ability to carry less weight.

Can we assume we have our car and use that for basic shelter? I guess we would just scale down everything else (e.g. one outfit per person)? We live in an urban centre, should we still pack up as though we might be heading out to the wilds (tools, fire, shelter)? I don’t actually know that we could survive out in the wilds. Perhaps better that we die quickly in the initial disaster? :woman_shrugging:t2:


Oh my gosh, I may actually be able to do some of this! Now that I have a home and more than the bare minimum of stuff. I have extra stuff that I can put in an extra backpack and place somewhere that isn’t the floor by the couch on which I sleep.

Pre-posting ETA: I have started putting things in the bag! I think I’ll have most of Clothing, Food, First aid, and Hygiene covered.

List for myself - what I have or can easily get


  • Holey socks
  • Holey underwear
  • Long sleeved shirt?
  • Cat jacket? :white_check_mark:
  • Winter stuff can worry about later
  • The crappier raincoat :white_check_mark:
  • BN hiking boots


  • Should get on this and keep one of the external drives in here
  • Also make that hard copy list of contact info
  • Upload photos of documents to LastPass
  • PASSPORT :white_check_mark:


  • I have nothing
  • Wait can I use that big foldy plastic thing as tarp?


  • Multitool from block party :white_check_mark:
  • Scissors :white_check_mark:
  • Maps - detailed street map :white_check_mark:
  • Map - with natural disaster meeting points marked :white_check_mark:
  • Safety pins :white_check_mark:
  • Twist ties :white_check_mark:
  • Extra usb-c charger


  • Gather dryer lint? I don’t use dryer, but roommates do

Food and Water

  • I can put raisins in here. Clif bars will get eaten.
  • Extra water bottle :white_check_mark:
  • Cans of tuna :white_check_mark: - can multitool open this?
  • Little containers of protein powder

First Aid Kit

  • Band-aids :white_check_mark:
  • Sunscreen :white_check_mark:
  • Itch lotion :white_check_mark:


  • Pads/tampons :white_check_mark:
  • Add more pad variety
  • Wet wipes :white_check_mark:
  • Towel :white_check_mark:
  • Hand soap :white_check_mark:
  • Tissues :white_check_mark:


  • Um I can stick 30 bucks in there
  • Maybe stick the Visa gift card in there until I get more cash monies?
  • A couple credit cards that I don’t use regularly :white_check_mark:

A lot of tuna comes with pull tab opens. All the Trader Joe’s tuna does, I know, as does a lot of the ethical catch cans- IIRC the wild planet stuff all has pull tabs. Also, you can buy the pre flavored foil packs. They pack super flat, too.


We’re not very well prepared for a bug out sort of emergency, but I can’t think of what could happen in our area that’s likely enough to be worth preparing for like that. Our most likely scenarios are being snowed in (medium-high probability, our region basically shuts down for a day or three due to blizzards every couple years) and tornadoes (lower probability for our area).


-Keep at least a quarter tank of gas in the car at all times
-Have snow tires
-Keep a well stocked pantry, cat food, kitty litter, etc. The correct time to stock up on toilet paper or whatever is before the news tells everyone to expect a big storm coming, because I have no desire to fight crowds for the last remaining pack of batteries.
-We have snowshoes and winter gear for in case we would need to go somewhere, but I don’t think there are many scenarios where we would leave our house during a blizzard. Maybe we should buy a sled in case one of us needs to drag the other to the hospital that’s a mile away if the ambulances can’t get out during a storm? Again, seems unlikely.
-We have a camp stove and a water filter for backpacking. We could use these to melt snow and purify it for drinking water, but it’s very unlikely our city water system would go out.


If we’re expecting severe thunderstorms that may produce tornadoes or strong line winds, I prep a few supplies for short term needs, under the assumption that if our house is damaged but we survive, we won’t need to evacuate very far and would likely be able to get to friends/family who can help us within a day. My parents live four miles from us, and we have close friends who live five miles in a different direction. Plus tons of other relatives and friends who live further out but within a half hour drive.

Short term supplies:
-We wear hiking boots during the day, or keep them right by our bed if we’re expecting storms overnight
-I fill up bottles with about four liters of water, assemble some snacks and cat food, and put them in a bag in the basement. I should probably stash additional water and cat food in our designated tornado shelter so it’s there if I forget or don’t get it together in time
-I should also add a couple cat cages (we have four cats) and a first aid kit to our designated shelter. And maybe something that would make it feasible to carry four cat cages at once, in case I’m home without my husband or vice versa
-We store lanterns and headlamps for backpacking in our designated shelter

1 Like

The trick is to consider what you’re actually trying to escape from, and don’t get side tracked into the idea that you’re trying to hike out from the collapse of society. None of us are going to live through that.

Your true enemy is that under truly shitty conditions, the emergency workers:

  1. know it’s coming, and evacuate their resources. This is why USN and USCG ships sortie. And once the disaster is over, those assets have to fight their way back in through the entangelment, all before they can bring you aid.

  2. don’t know it’s coming, and the assets are suddenly as stuck as you, still have to fight their way out of the suck before they can bring you aid.

With a (shudder) young child, your goal is to reach the outskirts of the damage, so that you can have access to aid that’s set up on the perimeter. Anything much more than 30 miles, which is 2-3 days of hiking in deteriorated infrastructure, and you’re far safer sheltering in place. Though, in your situation, I’d still keep a go-bag in the car, but don’t ever succumb to the mental idea that you’ll actually get to use the car.

HOWEVER, tools, fire, shelter isn’t a woods thing. It’s a lack of resources thing. Shut off the electricity, and our fancy urban centers aren’t particularly functional.


Jack has been very helpful in my past efforts in getting my emergency preparedness shit together.

Wills/POAs are already taken care of. We went with the cheap option which is not necessarily the best option, but my work offered Legal Shield as a benefit and I paid something like $15/month and they provided a “will kit” that was a little workbook. Mr. Meer and I both filled out a copy and sent it in. I was able to contact them about some particular circumstances (mild special needs kid) and a lawyer called me back and was very helpful about what extra stuff we would need (in our case, not really anything). Executor of the estate is my dad, receiver of child and back up receiver of child have been informed. Now that child is a preschooler I’m wanting to get together with them more often so he actually recognizes these people.

Smaller emergencies than myself and Mr. Meer dying - in our area, hurricanes and house fire are the next biggest issues. These require different approaches:

  1. Hurricane. Our location means sheltering in place is ideal most of the time. This has proven true over the past few years with significant hurricanes, schools were closed so that they could become shelters for other people fleeing the storms. Come to think of it, it’s time to check the canned goods. (Hrm, should have at least eyeballed them yesterday when I was home with not-really-sick kid.) For water, it’s not ideal but in the past we dumped out some large plastic storage containers and filled them up. Flashlights for when the power goes out. If a hurricane is nearby I take empty milk or juice containers and fill them up most of the way with water then freeze them, they get distributed to the fridge/freezer when the power is most likely to go out to help keep everything cool.

  2. House fire. This one took some work and happened slowly over months, huge kudos to Jack on this one because otherwise it likely still would not exist. This is created with the idea that the houses and stores around us, including a 24 hour Walmart, will still be functional. I was given one of those drawstring backpack things that I’m not likely to ever use and realized it could be used for this. The bag now lives on a shelf next to my bed, I can easily throw it out the window (also next to my bed) then go retrieve kid and dog to also throw them out the window. Off the top of my head, it contains:

  • Homeowners insurance paperwork. When we got our renewal paperwork, since we didn’t have any changes I put last years stuff in the backpack.
  • Diaper, wipes. Kid is unlikely to require the diaper now, but the wipes will be handy for many things.
  • Bottle of water. May be useful for pour on burns.
  • Underwear for me and Mr. Meer. Full change of clothes would be ideal, a second bag would probably be needed. This part is still a work in progress.
  • USB. I need to check on this and update it. I should make a Google reminder to rotate this out every few months with the other USB widget we have so the data will never be more than X months old.
  • Cash in various amounts. I do raid this occasionally if we need cash and don’t want to/can’t run to the credit union, but I also make sure to replenish what I take.
  • Glow in the dark bracelet thingy for kid. He will think it’s really cool and it will be useful for keeping an eye on him if the house fire happens at night.
  • Spare leash for dog.
  • Not currently in the bag, but writing this out it occurs to me we should keep our spare car keys in this bag. Odds are good they’ll have already burned up given the layout of our house, but if we can save one that will be a huge benefit (mobility).
  • Other stuff I’m forgetting.

I feel like this item deserves special mention for parents:

  • Plastic credit card holder on lanyard. This is for kiddo. This contains a folded up postcard I made that has pictures of his next of kin and their names and contact information. If he gets separated from us, as long has he has the lanyard there’s a much better chance he’ll be reunited with some family member. I did the pictures in MS Paint and taped over the final product as a cheap/easy method of laminating, because I knew trying to get to the store to get it done properly was going to get overlooked on the long to do list of life since it’s not currently an urgent item.

School has thankfully trained him what fire drills are and that they mean “we need to get out of here everybody!” then we all go stand outside. He is not given free range of the house at this point [edit: after bedtime I meant, during the day he is but we’re also awake and know where he is] and we do not expect him to actually be able to take care of himself in an emergency, so we have not practiced safety drills of having everyone relocate to the mailbox.


You know, I need to consider house fires and vehicle keys. Given that the house is mostly concrete, fire is unlikely, but not impossible. In our scenario, the simplest solution is probably to leave the keys to the pick up truck in the ignition where they can be found about half the time already. But everyone would likely be more comfortable if I made a spare set and put them in the barn instead.

1 Like

Hurricanes are our big possibility and our emergency kit lives in the closet under the stairs. We would probably hunker down at home or come and spend the storm at my windowless office in a brick building with lots of generators due to being connected to the hospital. The nice thing about hurricanes is that you generally see it coming and have some time to prepare so I worry less about have a bugout bag. All of our major documents are scanned and saved on google docs.

Kit includes:

  • batteries
  • radio/power bank that can be charged through batteries, hand crank, solar power. We can run usbs off this to power other things.
  • mini charcoal grill and charcoal for cooking as needed. We would probably also have access to our big outdoor grill which works on charcoal or propane. (I refill the propane tanks when a storm is fixing to hit us)
  • Water we get by filling up the various containers we have, those will then get frozen and distributed in the fridge/freezer as needed. I also fill bathtubs in the hours before a storm for pup’s water and to flush.
  • Plenty of first aid stuff as well as wet wipes.
  • Food we usually are good on based on the pantry. We keep a manual canopener in with the emergency supplies.