Preparing for an emergency situation or disaster ultimately comes down to two questions – should you stay or should you go?
The fact of the matter is that in some instances, an unfolding situation will take this decision out of your hands and leaving home or ‘bugging out’ becomes the priority for survival.
There are other times however, where the safest course of action may actually be to stay put, settling in to ride out the storm within your home until the danger has passed.
Ultimately, as with all emergency situations, man-made and natural disasters have an annoying habit of not letting you know what’s going to happen ahead of time and it’s due to this that preparing for both eventualities is truly the only way to ensure that you’re going to be covered whatever happens.
Putting together a comprehensive escape plan with the ability to leave home quickly either on foot or on the road (ideally a plan for both) is therefore absolutely essential no matter what you’re planning on doing in the event of an emergency or disaster taking place.
This mobile evacuation strategy may be your response of choice, but if not, keeping it stocked up and ready to go at a moment’s notice can literally make all of the difference if you find yourself in imminent danger.
Once you have a bug out plan and kit assembled however, thinking seriously about preparing your home for every eventuality should be considered the next priority to ensuring that whatever comes your way, the danger, disruption, and adverse effects to you and yours will be minimal.
Bugging In – The Advantages of Staying Home During an Emergency
If disaster strikes, there’s a good chance that things are going to be pretty hectic in the world outside your door.
Whether we’re talking about a natural event such as a winter storm, major civil unrest, or a situation in which the grid suddenly and unexpectedly goes down, being able to implement a comprehensive home preparedness strategy is the way to go.
There are a number of reasons for this beyond the physical safety aspects, but some of the most important come down to the fact that if the right plans are in place, your home represents a familiar shelter that can be adapted and stocked to deal with a whole host of situations whether from mother nature or otherwise.
The essential elements of survival and emergency preparedness remain exactly the same when it comes to preparing your home for an emergency with physical safety/health and sanitation, shelter/warmth, hydration and nutrition taking the priority spots for any emergency planning.
Once these essentials are covered, the secondary considerations around illumination, communication, and entertainment can also be addressed.
It’s in these areas that one of the major advantages of home preparedness (over evacuating) becomes apparent.
When you’re putting together a home preparedness strategy space and weight are less of an issue when compared to planning a strategy for bugging out in a vehicle or on foot.
This means that you can begin thinking seriously about longer-term preparedness when it comes to food and water and can factor in items that would otherwise be considered ‘luxuries’ when assembling a bag or loading up a vehicle where packing space and weight are both at a premium.
While storage space is undoubtedly going to depend on the size of your home, the fact of the matter is, whether you’re living in a studio apartment or a large family home, you’re going to be able to store and stockpile significantly more supplies and provisions than you’d ever be able to carry on the road or on the trail.
In practice of course this means that you’re going to be able to hunker down for a drastically longer period of time if required, easily allowing for a preparedness strategy to cover you and your family for weeks, months, and even longer if the situation demands it.
Home Preparedness Essentials
When it comes to preparing your home for a disaster or emergency situation, the specific planning that you put into place will ultimately depend on the individual circumstances and requirements of not only those in your household, but also of the location and physical properties of your home itself.
On top of these initial considerations of course, specific threats or potential emergency situations will all require their own particular responses.
If you live in an area that faces regular winter storms or tropical storm activity, then this will factor heavily into the kinds of preparedness planning you’re likely going to be thinking about with thoughts around cold weather and flood preparedness featuring high on the list.
Similarly if you live in an area that experiences earthquakes or tornadoes, then again, your contingency planning will probably focus heavily on these areas.
With all of this being said, all home preparedness planning is still going to boil down to a core foundation of essential elements that you should look to build into your home’s preparedness strategy and it’s in these fundamental areas that this guide will help you get started.
With the essential elements of a home preparedness plan in place, you can then look to build on to this to make your home ready for any particular threats you think are most likely given your situation – these response-specific guides will help you get it done.
Water and Hydration
Generally speaking, the first priority in any survival situation is to ensure physical safety and security as well as shelter from exposure.
If we’re looking at home preparedness however, there’s a good chance that these elements are likely to be covered if you’re deciding to stay put rather than evacuate.
The next most important thing to ensure therefore is access to clean and plentiful drinking water for everyone in your household.
The rules of drinking water remain exactly the same in a home preparedness situation as they do on the road – you need to make sure that the water you have access to is safe to drink and you need to make sure that you have enough to last you for the required period of time you’re likely to be affected by the prevailing events.
In a home emergency situation, you may or may not have access to running water, however it probably goes without saying that you need to assume that you won’t have and that the water will either run dry or become compromised in some way during an emergency or disaster.
In both cases, the first priority is therefore to ensure that you have enough redundancies in place to cover such an event.
The simplest way to do this is to invest in a stockpile of drinking water with enough hydration supplies to last you and your household for a prolonged period of time, storing in a cool, dark place away from sunlight when not in use.
In addition to this, you should look to make sure that you have multiple methods of filtering and purifying water, ideally with a range of backup solutions in place for everything from mechanical filters through to chemical filtration and even various ways of actually boiling water to make it safe if required.
Water Filtration Systems
A dependable water filter is arguably the most important component of a home preparedness strategy when it comes to ensuring access to purifying water and making it safe to drink during an emergency situation.
From counter-top systems to portable alternatives that can be stowed away in a cupboard, on a shelf, or even in a pocket or bag, a high quality water filtering system is one of the best ways of ensuring water continuity in the event of a disaster or crisis.
The Berkey range of water filtration systems are some of the best in the business and are a particularly solid choice if you’re looking for a home water filter that can be depended on during a crisis.
The 2.1 gallon Big Berkey is constructed from durable 304 stainless steel and is designed to purify both treated water as well as untreated raw water from sources such as lakes, ponds, and streams.
Providing the capability to remove pathogenic bacteria and parasites while also extracting pesticides. herbicides, VOCs, and organic solvents, the Big Berkey is made to tackle heavy duty water purification at home with the ability to purify up to 7 gallons an hour if configured with multiple filtration elements.
A key element to water security in a home preparedness strategy is ensuring that you have access to a backup supply of clean water (ideally on tap) if the grid goes down or becomes compromised and this is exactly what a system like the Big Berkey delivers with minimal fuss in the process.Learn More About the Big Berkey Stainless Steel Water Filtration System Here
Mechanical water filters offer a lot of advantages when it comes to purifying water and in the case of smaller, pump-based filters such as the MSR MiniWorks EX, one of the biggest benefits is the portable size.
Measuring in at an incredible 7.5 x 2.75 inches and weighing just 1 pound, the MiniWorks EX is small enough to store on a shelf or in a drawer in the home and light enough to throw in a bag if you need to get out of your home in a hurry.
Of course what matters most when it comes to a water filter is the ability to reliably and easily deliver clean water when you need it most and in this regard, the MSR also excels.
With the ability to pump water a rate of about one liter per minute, the MiniWorks EX removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% protozoa with each replaceable carbon and ceramic filter cartridge treating up to 2,000 liters of water before you’ll need to switch out for a replacement.
Portability and flexibility are both major benefits when it comes to reacting to an emergency situation and in both cases, the MiniWorks EX delivers the perfect combination of small form factor and high performance making it a natural ally in both home preparedness and bug out strategies alike.Learn More About the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Purifier System Here
Food and Nutrition
Maintaining an adequate level of rounded nutrition is challenging at the best of times, during an emergency situation or adverse conditions however, having a reliable stockpile of food available can make all of the difference.
The availability of food that is both safe to eat and nutritionally rounded enough to keep you fighting fit is a tall order during a crisis situation and the absence of refrigeration and cooking methods if the grid goes down or as a result of a blackout makes this virtually impossible if you’re not prepared ahead of time.
With all of this in mind, the nutrition provision in your home preparedness strategy needs to be comprehensive, flexible, effective, and above all, easy to implement when needed.
This means food that is shelf stable, easy to prepare, and highly nutritious with enough calories and goodness to not just keep you well fed, but also to ensure that you maintain overall levels of health and minimize the chances of getting sick.
On top of this, it’s crucial to ensure that you have methods to prepare food if the traditional kitchen appliances can no longer be relied upon.
Emergency Food Supply and Meal Kit Options
Ready to go emergency meal kits and MRE style food kits are a reliable foundation in any home preparedness strategy when it comes to food provision.
Building a nutrition stockpile around a comprehensive survival food kit will ensure that your food is not only fully-rounded when it comes to calories and vitamin provision, but also that it’s easy to prepare (with minimal cooking required), and will offer an incredible shelf life with some kits remaining shelf stable for up to 30 years if stored correctly.
As with all perishable and consumable items, the length of time your food supply covers you for will ultimately determine how long you’ll be able to stay put during a crisis.
Physical storage space and budget are obviously major considerations when it comes to choosing emergency food provision for your home but you’ll also be wanting to think about the number of people in your household that need to be fed as well as the length of time you want to be covered for.
Mountain House Essential Meal Assortment
The Essential Meal Assortment bucket from Mountain House contains 32 servings of easy to prepare meals that are easy to prepare with an incredible shelf life and a variety of options to keep things interesting.
As with all of the best emergency food storage options, the meal pouches in the Essential Meal Assortment are simple to prepare – just add water and the food is ready to go in under 10 minutes, straight from the pouch.
The inclusion of Mountain House’s ’30 Year Taste Guarantee’ makes this emergency meal kit a great choice if you’re looking for a solution that’s easy to stack and store (thanks to the storage bucket which holds the meal pouches), while also remaining shelf stable for a seriously long period of time.
If you’re looking for a home preparedness food solution that covers all of the bases while remaining versatile, portable, and long-lasting, then you’ll be hard pressed to find a better meal kit for the money.Learn More About the Mountain House Essential Meal Assortment Here
Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply
Augason Farms have built a well-earned reputation as one of the best in class when it comes to emergency meal kits and food stockpile solutions and the 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply is no exception to this rule.
Providing 307 servings spread across 35 individual food pouches, the Augason Farms food kit has a shelf life of up to 20 years and comes in a watertight 7 gallon pail for easy storage and transportation.
The meals in the 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply offer a nice range of between 8 and 12 varieties of meal including both breakfast and entree options delivering a combined 54,670 calories across the entire provision (around 1,822 calories per day).
This kit is a great choice as an emergency food solution to last a single person for around 30 days or a family of 4 for up to a week while the affordability and ease of storage provided by the kit means it’s easy to scale this up without breaking the bank or running out of storage room in your home.Learn More About the Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply Here
Emergency Home Pantry and Food Stockpile Supplies
If you’re looking to build prolonged resilience into your home preparedness food planning then you’re going to want to start consider building a larger stockpile of emergency food and ingredients into your plan.
Emergency long-life ingredient kits allow for an extended range for the food supply in your home during a crisis and mean that you can build both meal flexibility and staying power into your nutrition strategy.
Space is of course a major factor when it comes to storing any preparedness supplies for a longer period of time and with this in mind, equipping a home pantry with dedicated storage solutions is a big help if you want to keep things easy to manage.
Dedicated pantry and can storage solutions are designed around this situation and make it easy to access your supplies while simultaneously making it simple to check expiry dates and rotate your supplies.Augason Farms Shelter-in-Place 1-Year 4-Person Emergency Food Supply Kit
If you want to build complete peace of mind into a home preparedness crisis food pantry, then the Shelter-in-Place Emergency Food Supply from Augason Farms is the comprehensive way to get it done and deliver total peace of mind when it comes to survival nutrition.
Containing enough meal ingredients to feed a family of four for up to a year, this food supply selection provides each person with 1,324 calories per day across 360 cans and a total offering of 21,282 servings.
The easy to prepare emergency food and ingredient options in the Shelter-in-Place kit include everything from entrées and breakfast options to eggs, dairy, fruit options, breads, desserts and more ensuring that you’ll have complete nutritional coverage no matter what’s going down in the outside world.
Effectively providing access to a grocery store within your own home, if disaster strikes and you find yourself needing to settle in for the long-hail, this emergency food supply will ensure that the disruption will be minimal when it comes to maintaining business as usual with your household’s nutrition requirements.Learn More About the Augason Farms Shelter-in-Place 1-Year 4-Person Emergency Food Supply Kit Here
Power Generation and Energy Security
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re bugging in during an emergency situation or disaster, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll likely find yourself without access to the usual utilities and power and dealing with some degree of blackout situation until things settle down.
Whether there’s a problem at source (i.e power generation and supply breaks down) or the issue is at your home or with the power lines en-route, the result remains the same – disconnection from the grid and no access to mains electricity.
There are countless causes that could lead to this ranging from natural disasters to social unrest and even events such as a natural or man-made EMP which brings the grid down at either the local, regional, or national level.
One truth remains however whatever the cause of a power outage and that’s the fact that if the lights go out for a prolonged period of time, you’re going to want to make sure you have a backup plan in place.
Ensuring that you can quickly and effortlessly switch to a secondary source of power generation will mean that the level of disruption you experience in these kinds of situations will be minimized.
Including an emergency power generator in your home preparedness strategy will mean that if the grid goes down, you’ll be able to keep the lights, refrigerator, appliances, and devices turned on at a moment’s notice.
From backup gas generators and fuel powered systems to gas-free solar power options, there are a wide choice of available emergency energy generating solutions out there which mean you can build a good level of redundancy into your home preparedness plan when it comes to guaranteeing access to energy.
Emergency Backup Gas Generators
Gas powered generator systems have long offered a reliable source of portable energy during times of crisis and for good reason.
Easy to operate and outputting a lot of power, the best backup gas generator units are a no-nonsense tool for the job if you need instant access to electricity and plugging in to the grid simply isn’t an option.
There are some downsides to gas generators which should be considered when it comes to use during a home preparedness situation and these mainly revolve around noise, exhaust fumes (they can’t be run inside because of this), and the requirement to ensure you have enough gas or equivalent fuel on hand to feed the generator when you need to use it.
With all of this being said however, emergency gas generators still offer the best bang for the buck when it comes to producing instant power when needed and are a truly excellent item to have in your home preparedness inventory if things go south.
Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
As a potential home preparedness generator there’s a lot to like about this unit from Champion but one of the stand out features is the ability to run the system on either gas or propane right out of the box, providing maximum flexibility when it comes to fueling in an emergency situation.
Delivering 4750 starting watts and 3800 running watts, the generator is able to run for up to 9 hours on a full tank of gas while this range extends to 10.5 hours if you hook the system up to a 20 lb propane tank.
Ease of use is also a critical factor when it comes to choosing a backup generator for an emergency situation and the inclusion of a push-button electric start means that the 224cc engine behind this generator will be up and running with minimal fuss.
In terms of outlets the Champion includes two 120V 20A household outlets, 120V 30A RV and 120V 30A locking provision while the inclusion of the inbuilt ‘Volt Guard’ system ensures any connected appliances are protected from power surges.Learn More About the Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator Here
Solar Generator Systems
The term ‘solar generator’ actually refers to a system comprising a couple of units including the solar panels themselves and a portable power station or battery solution that actually allows you to hook up your devices and get to the stored up energy.
When compared to a conventional gas powered generator, some of the differences are obvious with solar generators running silent (and without fumes) and of course, being dependent on the sun shining to actually charge the power unit in the first place.
Beyond this though the most important consideration to keep in mind is that solar generator systems are not going to deliver the same energy output as their conventional fuel powered counterparts.
What solar generators do offer however, is the ability (weather depending) to deliver a reserve of limitless energy which is free, plentiful, and can be stored up until needed.
Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium V2 Solar Kit
Goal Zero are one of the leading names in the field of portable solar power generation and this solar kit is built around the brand’s excellent Yeti 1400 Lithium power unit and Boulder 100 folding ‘briefcase’ style panels.
A water-tight enclosure surrounds the system’s lithium-ion battery making it weather durable for use either indoors or outside.
The battery within the power unit of the Yeti 1400 has a capacity of 1425 Wh and depending on the level of sunlight, charging time is anywhere from 28-56 hours.
The solar panels included in this kit are capable of delivering 100 watts of power to the system if the conditions are optimal and conveniently fold down with a carrying handle for maximum portability if you need to move them around. pack in a vehicle, or just for convenient storage when not needed.Learn More About the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium V2 Solar Kit Here
Illumination and Communication
As we’ve covered, in the event of an emergency situation where your home becomes your survival refuge, the first thing that’s likely to fail is access to utilities from the outside world.
Whether we’re talking about water, gas, electricity, or connection to the landline or cellular networks, in a serious disaster situation of any kind, it needs to be assumed that all will fail.
When it it comes to electricity and telecommunications, this means power outages and the potential loss of contact with the outside world.
In both of these instances two areas need to be covered, backup illumination methods for blackout situations where you become unplugged from the grid and communication methods that don’t rely on the standard infrastructure for keeping you informed about what’s going on in the outside world.
Tactical Flashlight Solutions
If the grid goes down, without a doubt the best tool you can have at your disposal when it comes to emergency illumination is a high performance tactical flashlight for helping you get things done when the lights go out.
Tactical flashlights are quite literally designed for operation in adverse conditions and combine features ranging from water resistant and shockproof designs, to powerful illumination, long battery life, and even external features which can be used for personal protection if needed.
If you have the budget, aim to stock at least one flashlight per member of your household and invest in additional batteries for storage if needed over a longer time-frame.
When it comes to the trade off of cost to benefit, it’s tough to beat a high quality tactical flashlight or torch for the sheer operating performance and consistently reliable power they deliver for the price.
SureFire G2X LED
SureFire are one of the top names in the field of tactical illumination and it’s therefore little surprise that they’re one of the primary flashlights of choice for both military and law enforcement operators.
The G2X LED is one of the very best offering from the brand and delivers everything you’d expect from a durable tactical flashlight from a rugged exterior shell, to an efficient yet powerful LED light emitter for optimal output.
Operation of the G2X is made even easier for one-hand use with the inclusion of a tactical tail cap switch which can be activated quickly and easily.
An outer casing of a tough lightweight nitrolon body makes the G2X resistant to shocks and impacts while an anodized aluminum bezel and reinforced glass further increase the durability under any number of potential uses.Learn More About the SureFire G2X LED Here
Another excellent choice if you’re looking for a workhorse flashlight that’s built for use in challenging conditions, the Fenix FX-PD35TAC provides both the construction quality and high performance that you’ll be glad to have in your pocket if the power goes down.
Offering six power output modes up to 1000 lumens, the FX-PD35TAC is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and also features a hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish for superior durability for inevitable drops, scrapes, and bumps.
On top of this, a weight of just 3.1 ounces (89 grams) and an IPX-8 water resistance rating (6.5 feet for up to 30 minutes) make this flashlight perfectly suited to keeping close at hand however bad the conditions are.Learn More About the Fenix FX-PD35TAC Here
Emergency Radio Sets
An essential in any home preparedness stockpile, the humble emergency radio can become a lifeline during a crisis, providing access to information from the outside world when it may be too dangerous to leave the house.
The best emergency radio sets are those which utilizes multiple power generation methods to ensure that you can tune in to emergency broadcasts or updates without the need for batteries or a mains power supply for operation.
Water and shock resistant construction is also something to be on the look out for with increased durability will ensure your radio still performs under adverse conditions.
Kaito KA500 Emergency Weather Alert Radio
The KA500 pretty much includes everything you’d want from an emergency radio solution ranging from a durable build quality to multiple power generation options.
This emergency radio set covers AM, FM, and 2-band shortwave frequencies as well as including 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels.
In terms of power options, the Kaito features a hand crank generator and solar panel for off-grid situations and can also run on batteries (3 AA or built-in NiMH rechargeable pack), 5V USB , or a 5V AC/DC input using a wall power.
Beyond use as a radio, the KA500 doubles up as an emergency mobile battery charger thanks to the inclusion of a DC 5V USB output port for hooking up to smaller devices as well as also offering a 5-LED reading lamp, an LED flashlight and a red LED S.O.S. beacon for use in emergency response situations.
Build quality is as rugged as you’d expect from a radio designed for use in an emergency situation and the KA500 utilizes impact-resistant and water-resistant ABS material for the outer body to ensure it’s able to cope with any real-world situations it’s likely to be used in.Learn More About the Kaito KA500 Emergency Weather Alert Radio Here
FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio
If you’re looking for a home emergency radio that covers all of the bases at home while also being small enough to throw into a bag if you need to evacuate, then this set from FosPower is one of the best equipped for the job.
Built around a 2000mAh power bank, this emergency radio provides enough power for small devices such as a phone, with power for the set generated either by AAA batteries, solar panel, or the unit’s hand crank.
Once powered up, the FosPower emergency radio delivers light (through the in-built flashlight), emergency power for smaller appliances, and of course, radio with the ability to receive emergency news and weather updates from NOAA as well as the standard remit of AM/FM stations.
In terms of lighting provision, the onboard 1W flashlight and 4 LED reading light is a nice have if you find yourself in an unexpected power outage situation without the need to find those elusive batteries.Learn More About the FosPower Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio Here
The Last Word
When it comes to preparedness, we reference as many expert sources and real world user reviews as possible when looking to provide the most relevant and educational information in our guides.
Preparing your home for an emergency situation, disaster, or crisis is a highly personal activity with individual needs and preferences sometimes varying considerably between people, locations and uses.
With these considerations in mind, this guide looks to provide advice on our own recommendations for home emergency preparedness, however it’s always important to carry out your own due diligence to find the best solution for you when preparing your home for those worst case scenarios.