zero day finance prepare for emergencies

Everyone Must Prepare for Emergencies

Emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Northeast Yankee or a Southern Belle. Your survival may depend on how much (or little) time you spend preparing for emergencies that can happen at any time. With the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Sandy and Katrina, the evacuations in the wake of the Oroville Dam, even the risks caused by the Snowmageddon that hit the Atlantic region in 2010, the time to prepare is now, and it’s a lot easier than you think.

Why Should You Prepare for Emergencies?

This is a question that I constantly ask myself. There are a bunch of really ridiculous TV shows about being prepared. Doomsday Preppers, I’m looking at you. Shows like this exist to scare you. They’re very well done and keep you watching the whole time. Then you see about 30 advertisements and the TV network makes a bunch of money.

“Preppers” have gotten a bad name because people realized there is a lot of money to be made in the market. There are a bunch of $200+ “bug out” bags pre-made for you to buy. Lots of blog posts advocating that you spend $500 on emergency equipment (with Amazon affiliate links of course) “just in case.” But all of these are advertisements, designed to scare you and make you buy something.

So breathe easy, you don’t need to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. You don’t need to build a giant Faraday cage around your house to protect against an EMP. Building an underground nuclear fallout bunker isn’t practical, and you’re not going to get hit by a nuclear weapon anyway. What you need to do is look at emergency situations that have happened around where you live, and have a plan for dealing with them.

The good news is that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on stuff to prepare. A little knowledge, a plan, and maybe a couple hundred dollars worth of supplies will go a long way to decreasing the impact that natural disasters will have on you.

Prepare for Emergencies Specific to where you Live

This one is pretty much a no brainer, but look at what has happened in your area. Are you prone to flooding or hurricanes? What about tornadoes, heat waves, power outages or blizzards? Forest fires? These are just a few examples of realistic emergencies that you should prepare for. Again, it will entirely depend on what can happen in your area.

I currently live in Maryland, and I’m moving to New York this week. What types of emergencies have I been preparing for? Well, New York was hit really badly by Hurricane Sandy. I also lived through the blackout of 2003 and Snowmageddon. These are the types of emergencies that require me to either hunker down, or evacuate. So I need to be prepared for both.

Bugging in for Emergencies? What’s that?

If you’ve ever looked into the “prepper” community (I hope you haven’t spent much time there, because it’s a huge rabbit hole of people buying thousands of rounds of ammunition, finding the best concealed carry holster, and learning 10+ forms of martial arts so you can be a walking killing machine when the Zombies come hunting for you), you’ve seen the term “bug out” and “bug in.” These two terms are analogous to “hunkering down” and evacuating.

If you are really preparing for emergencies, realistic emergencies, you are probably bugging in, or hunkering down. This is typically the safest thing to do. You stay in your house and ride out the storm. But what storm? In my example, this means staying put during a hurricane, snow storm, or power outage. What do each of these scenarios require?

Basic Preparations

Well, during a Hurricane, blizzard, or power outage, I’ll need a supply of food and water for a few days. But if we look at what happened during Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina, a few days might not cut it. I would recommend at least a week of food for each member of your family. Canned soups, beans and meats work well. You can also build up a collection of pasta and other snacks. Make sure you are prepared to cook your food without power as well. Budget at least 2,000 calories of food per person per day.

In addition, you’ll want water. Again, a few days for each person should be fine, but I would recommend a week’s supply for each family member. Most survival guides recommend 1 gallon of water per person per day. Most people don’t drink a gallon of water per day, but remember people need to bathe, and you can always use extra water to operate your toilet. You can get really cheap bottles of water, or even those massive bottles for the water cooler in your office.

zero day finance emergency ratio water
See this? You’ll need a lot and it’s heavy

You also need to be prepared for any temperature extremes if you are bugging in. What happens if you lose power in the middle of a blizzard? The temperature will drop very quickly at night, and you may find yourself in a situation where your entire family has to huddle for warmth. Seriously, do not under estimate the impact that the cold will have on you. Even if your house drops to 50 or 60 degrees, it can have serious consequences. At a minimum, make sure you have a good set of blankets for each member of your family. If your home has a fireplace, make sure you have some dry wood and know how to start a fire.

Gear

Everyone loves gear (because buying stuff off Amazon is fun, right?). Having a little bit of gear will help you out, but when you’re bugging in that isn’t super necessary. You already have 90% of what you need in your house already. But, I would recommend having some of the following (or equivalents of course).

Power

Most things need power to run. Our computers and phones, space heaters, etc. I recommend the following gear to help you out, just in case.

  1. Battery Pack: will charge 4 smart phones twice
  2. Batteries: power flashlights and other electronics
  3. Dual Fuel Generator: runs off gas or propane, if you need more power
  4. Portable Solar Panels: If you are really concerned about not having enough power, not really necessary

Heating / Cooking

This one is really important. You need to be able to stay warm and cook food, regardless of if you have power or not. Some people go crazy with figuring out how to stay warm. You really just need a blanket (or a bunch) to stay warm in most instances. For food, you can always buy food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Canned soup and beans works fine. But if you want something more, I would recommend:

  1. Butane Stove: small, easy to store, will cook your food. Be careful when using it inside
  2. Wood Burning Stove: this is a little guy, but it’ll boil water easily
  3. Fancy Food — Biscuts and Gravy: if you want good freeze dried food, use them. I’ve eaten a few, and they’re quite tasty
zero day finance biscuits and gravy
Fancy food, for a fancy prepper

Entertainment

Keeping yourself active and entertained during an emergency is really important. Cabin fever is legit. Even if you’re only hanging out in your house for 2 or 3 days with no power, you’ll get bored. This is why I highly recommend getting a battery pack, you can keep recharging your smart phones. But, there are a few other options.

  1. Audible: audio books are awesome, will keep you occupied for hours
  2. Books: same, reading is fun, will keep you occupied
  3. Legos: Keep a set or two handy, they’re fun to put together, plus it’ll keep your kids occupied
  4. Coloring books: not just for children
  5. Jigsaw Puzzles: again, not just for children
  6. Board Games: again, not just for children

Stay Incognito

Now that you’ve got enough food, water, and other supplies, you should do your best to stay incognito. What does that mean? Blend in, don’t show that you’ve got a bunch of supplies. Looting does happen, and if there is an emergency, you probably don’t want to run your generator. It’s an advertisement yelling “HEY, I’M PREPARED WITH LOTS OF STUFF!” Seriously though, do your best to stay incognito. Obviously you can go check on your neighbors, but you’re hunkering down, just stay inside, ride out the storm, and don’t give anybody a reason to come investigate.

Bugging out for Emergencies

Sometimes you cannot stay in your house. You might need to evacuate because of a storm or something else. When the Oroville Dam evacuation order was issued, the people who prepared for emergencies grabbed a backpack, hopped in their car and left. The people who had to wait an hour to collect their stuff faced massive traffic delays, gas stations with no fuel and food. Plus, they would have been screwed if the dam overflowed (which it thankfully didn’t).

No, this isn’t a guide to help you build a super cool bug out bag that will let you survive in the wilderness for 10 years. That’s ridiculous. But, you need to be prepared to get up and leave with 5 or 10 minutes. Seriously, if you can do that, you’ll be ahead of most people and have much better odds of success. This is going to be much more gear focused.

In addition, you most likely aren’t evacuating on foot. Get in your car and get out of there. Make sure your car can carry your family’s emergency supplies (backpacks). But remember, you will do some walking, so don’t give your 8 year old child a 30 pound backpack, that just won’t work.

What Emergency Evacuation Gear do you Need?

Okay, so you were watching TV and an evacuation notice flashed on the screen. You’ve gotta get out of your town, now, like right now. What do you need? First, you don’t want to look for the gear. It should already be organized in an easily accessible place, and you need to be able to pick it up and run.

What supplies do you need? Similar to weathering out the storm in your house, you’ll need food, water, and warmth. Everything else is a luxury. Some of these luxuries are worth more than others. For example, a first aid kit will be infinitely more important than a book. There’s a lot of gear that you could bring, you need to figure out what you personally need, and it needs to work with your family.

You also need to make what I call a “no BS assessment” of your family’s abilities. For example, don’t ask your 110 pound child to carry around a 20 pound emergency bug out kit. Just don’t do it, that isn’t realistic, and they’ll slow you down. If you’re in Arizona, you probably don’t need a set of warm clothes either.

Finally, don’t forget cash. I would recommend having a couple hundred dollars in one of our backpacks, preferably distributed between the adult’s backpacks. The minimum would be $100, but you should feel more comfortable with $300 – $400. Things will get expensive.

The Gear

Backpacks

Pick a good backpack. It should fit you, and you should be able to carry it for at least 3 or 4 miles just in case.

  1. 5.11 Rush 72: I’m 200 pounds, and can trek with this backpack loaded up with 40 pounds of stuff for about 5 miles. This thing is big
  2. 5.11 Rush 24: Better suited for somebody in the 110 – 150 pound range, loaded up with no more than 15-20 pounds of stuff
  3. 5.11 MOAB 6: Perfect for your lightweight children, pretty small but holds necessities
zero day finance rush 24 emergency backpack
5.11 Rush 24 Backpack, one of my favorites

I recommend 5.11 gear because it is built to last. It’s very water resistant, has the Molle system for attachments, and you can trust that these backpacks will not disappoint you in emergency situations. I use the Rush 72 backpack as my bug in bag to store most of my gear in a centralized place. However, if I needed to evacuate, It’s got enough supplies to last me a few days, plus some extras.

If you don’t want to go for a backpack, that’s fine. You can use a duffel bag or something else. But make sure you try it out, make sure it’s comfortable, and read reviews evaluating the durability. Durability is very important.

Food and Water

When you are evacuating, you may not have easy access to food and water. Unfortunately, food is very heavy because of how much water it contains. Plus, water is very heavy, at 8 pounds per gallon. And each person should have about a gallon of water per day in ideal situations. If you are evacuating, budget 32 – 62 ounces of water per day. You’ll be pretty damn thirsty, but you won’t get dehydrated and you’ll survive for a few days.

Make sure you divvy up these supplies to every person in your family, and don’t make them carry too much. Again, I’m a 200 pound male so I can carry a lot of stuff. My backpack fully loaded has 2 gallons of water. My fiancee? Not so much, she just can’t carry it, which is perfectly fine.

With respect to food, don’t bring anything that needs to be cooked. You aren’t on vacation, so nothing fancy. You will deal with eating boring food for a little while. The following items are just ideas. You can go with them, or brainstorm your own. Remember to pick out the right gear for your family and your own situation.

  1. Collapsable Water Bottle: perfect for storing water, and fold it when you’re all done
  2. Hydration Bladder: directly integrates with your backpack, doesn’t take up much space
  3. Protein Bars: plenty of calories, plus protein which you’ll need. If you’re in a hot climate, avoid chocolate / peanut butter
  4. Emergency Rations: these are nasty, disgusting, and will save your life if you need food. They barely take up room
  5. Water Filter: if you are going “into the wild,” this will filter 100,000 gallons (super light and small)

Warmth

Cold is dangerous. If you looked at the news coverage of Hurricane Harvey, you saw drenched, shivering people trying to stay warm. Your emergency backpack / bug out bag should have at least 1 full change of clothes. You also probably want a raincoat, emergency blanket, “regular” blanket, and a few others. Here are some ideas.

  1. Mylar Emergency Blanket: really only good for a single use, but it’ll keep you warm
  2. Hand Warmers: perfect if you’re cold, and will keep you warm
  3. Waterproof rain coat: seriously, staying dry is important
  4. Waterproof bag: put your change of clothes in here
  5. Tarp: your family can sit on this if the ground is wet, or put it over your heads, can also collect rainwater

Lighting

Having reliable light is important. It isn’t extremely necessary, but having the ability to see in the dark will help you out, especially if you need to evacuate at night. These are your bug out bags, don’t go crazy, but you can have a few small things to prepare for a quick evacuation.

  1. Large USB Flashlight: very powerful flashlight, rechargeable via USB
  2. Small AA Flashlight: give one to everybody, just in case
  3. Inflatable Solar Powered Lamp: this thing is small, cheap, and works great. 25% charge in 1-2 hours of sunlight
  4. Glow sticks: put them on your kids, make sure you don’t get lost in the dark

Toiletries / Med Kit

Most people will forget about this, but you’re going to want toiletries and you need a med kit. Think about all of the bumps and bruises that you’ve suffered over the past 6 months, and have the necessary supplies to treat them. Make sure to pack meds for your area. Also, bring tampons and pads. These are extremely important, you do not want to get caught in am emergency situation without them, especially if you can’t change your clothes everyday.

  1. Baby Wipes: assume 2-4 wipes per person per day, minimum (they’re light)
  2. Paper towels: not the whole roll, take a few sheets and put it in a baggie
  3. Hand Sanitizer
  4. Toothbrushes + tooth paste
  5. Advil / Aspirin / Tylennol / Benadryl pills / extra prescription meds
  6. Bug Spray / Sunscreen / Anti-Itch Cream
  7. Basic First Aid (bandaids, Neosporin, tape, gauze pads)

Miscellaneous Items

There are plenty of other things that you could carry in your bug out bags. These are highly location dependent, so I’ll give you a few examples. This list is nowhere near comprehensive, and you obviously shouldn’t buy everything on this list.

  1. Lightweight Battery Pack: keep your phone charged to call relatives
  2. Area map
  3. Small Folding Knife: help rescue people, cut through debris, break car windows, etc
  4. Bic Lighter
  5. Vaseline (chapped lips suck)
  6. Bandana (keep neck warm, useful for filtering water)
  7. Paracord: the hardcore preppers love this stuff
  8. Compass: if you are going “into the wild”

Remember, the more gear you take, the heavier your packs will be, and the less food and water you can bring. Food, water, and warm, dry clothes are the most important thing to have.

Organization

Phew! That was a lot to cover. But it’s really important that you figure out a plan for what to pack for your family’s evacuation survival bags. Now I’ll talk a little bit about how to actually organize your gear so that it works for you. If you are evacuating, the government will have supplies like food and water ready. I can also almost guarantee that they won’t have enough to make everybody comfortable.

zero day finance 5.11 rush 72 bug out bag
My 5.11 Rush 72 bug in bag

The most important things to consider are food and water. I would recommend that each person have 3 days worth of water. In an emergency evacuation situation, adults will need about half a gallon a day and kids will need a quart each. This means a 4-person family (2 adults, 2 children) need 3 + 1.5 gallons = 4.5 total gallons of water, which weighs 36 pounds. In addition, each person will probably go through half a pound of food per day for a total of 6 pounds.

We can also assume that you’ll have about 20 pound of additional supplies for your family. Those toiletries, lighting and extra clothes weigh more than you think. This brings your total emergency kit to 62 total pounds. Distribute the amount and weight of the supplies to people based on what they can carry. Your children can probably carry 5 – 8 pounds depending on their ages. As parents, you need to carry the rest. In this scenario, I would carry about 20 pounds of water, half the food, and as much other stuff as I can fit in my backpack. It’s much easier for me to carry a 40 pound pack than it is my 130 pound fiancée.

In addition, every backpack should have a little bit of everything. This means every backpack should have some food, water, medical supplies, etc. This way, if you lose a bag or get separated, everyone in your party has enough to get through through the day, at least for a little bit.

Wear your Clothes, Prepare Sneakers

One of the great things about preparing is that you’re prepared. So now you have your emergency evacuation backpacks ready to go. They’re in the closet by the front door. Now, you should make sure that your rain jackets and other supplies are right near the backpacks. This way you can run to the closet, put on your sneakers, put on your jackets and you’re out.

Anything that you can carry on your person instead of your backpack will help make things feel lighter. Even if its warm, I’d recommend wearing your raincoat because it saves precious space and weight. If you want to go crazy, you can get Molle attachments for your backpack and put some of your supplies onto them, such as a flashlight holder.

Always be Prepared (And Start Right Now)

Please, make sure that you are prepared for emergencies. It isn’t terribly difficult to do. If you have a family of 4, you can be reasonably well prepared to weather an emergency in place and evacuate with supplies for about $500 – $800 depending on what gear you decide to purchase. Is $500 – $800 a lot of money? Yes, well, sort of. How many of you have an emergency fund? How much money is in there? If you’ve spent time and effort to build up an emergency fund, at least think about putting together an emergency kit, it might just save your life.

Good Hunting,
David


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25 thoughts to “Everyone Must Prepare for Emergencies”

  1. Hey David,

    Thanks for this awesomely helpful post! My husband and I were JUST talking about putting together a “go bag”–something we can grab when SHTF, and we were brainstorming what to put in it. Definitely going to consult your list!

    Luxe

    1. Thank you! I contemplated including links to some of the… we’ll call them more established preppers. But it just isn’t necessary. Those survival blogs are just a bunch of Amazon affiliate links, so they advertise really expensive gear that is effectively useless. I made the mistake of reading those blogs and then realized they’re mostly crazy, for people who want to survive a nuclear strike.

      Since you’re in Manhattan, things are a bit different with respect to prepping. With millions of people around, evacuations are tough. Having a lightweight go-bag to keep you running for 1-2 days is really important, but you’ll most likely hunker down. Not sure where you live in NYC, but having a weeks worth of food and water in your apartment is very important. As New Yorkers, we’ll mostly face a few days of a blizzard or a few days of a hurricane.

      You also might want to consider a “get home bag” or beefing up your “EveryDay Carry” (EDC). I spent about $30 on a Maxpedition FR-1 Medical Pouch. It’s effectively water proof and holds a lot of stuff. I keep medical supplies, toiletries, and a cliff bar in there just in case. Goes in my backpack (which is always with me). I’ll give you a secret though. The thing I’ve used the most is my Tide to go. I keep getting Sriracha all over my work shirts…

  2. We admittedly don’t have any sort of ’emergency kit’ right now; our space is pretty cramped for the time-being as we downsized while waiting for our house to finish being built. When we move in we’ll work on getting one together.

    While it may be lumped under your ‘board games’ item, a deck of cards is a 100% MUST HAVE. You can do all sorts of things with cards, and a good waterproof deck is an awesome addition. Bonus points if you can use it for camping trips or something else, too.

    Good comprehensive list!

    1. Thanks Dave! I have a deck of cards in my bug in bag. One thing I should have mentioned was mementos from family members. My fiancee wrote me really cute cards and put them in my work lunches. I kept all of those cards and they’re in a safe place in my backpack. In case I ever need more motivation.

  3. Living here in Charleston SC this is a very applicable topic. Most long-timers understand the preparation process but there are *SO* many people new to the area in the past few years that they don’t understand just how crazy things can get.

    1. Hey Brad, thanks for commenting! Things can get out of control really quickly. Weather is still fairly unpredictable, and being prepared is very cheap compared to the ramifications of getting caught unprepared.

  4. Love this list. Very comprehensive. I live near Houston, TX and several of my family members do as well. I wasn’t in Texas during Hurricane Harvey. My brother and mom’s streets flooded but luckily it wasn’t as bad as other areas and they didn’t have to evacuate. Both of them were really prepared and had lots of food on hand. Although, they didn’t prepare for the losing power part, which is important to do.

    1. Thank you for commenting! I’m glad that your family members are doing alright. Power is always tricky. On one hand, you can generator but that makes you a target in more heavily populated areas. you can have a bunch of batteries, but that won’t power your home. My dad got one of those dual fuel generators and has a few propane tanks to power it. He also got a butane stove for cooking and keeping warm, although I wouldn’t run it in my house for a long time. I stick with a battery backup so I can recharge my phone 7-8 times, and I have about 12 days worth of audio books that I really enjoy.

  5. If you are in a state where it is legal I’d recommend one extra thing, a concealable handgun (with permit, of course). These are legal in almost every state and city in the country, weigh very little and in an emergency might save your life or that of your family. I know they aren’t politically correct but you are talking about throwing on a forty pound pack and hiking out of your neighborhood so you aren’t talking about a time when it will be possible to rely on any emergency services. You may be forced to travel through areas with roving bands of looters and being armed will make you a hard target rather than an easy one. You are the one that decided to do a post on surviving a disaster so please don’t get mad at me for pointing out the obvious elephant in the room.

    1. Hi Steveark, no problem, I’m glad that you pointed out the elephant in the room. Having reliable defense is very important in emergency situations. If you need to travel through an area with roving bands of looters, you won’t make it far. If it is you vs 4 unarmed guys, you can probably keep them at bay. But if we are talking about armed looter, you won’t stand a chance and staying put will just be a better option.

      There are about 300 million firearms in America, roughly 1 per person. Even though the distribution is something like 15% of Americans own 75% of all firearms, that means you can estimate 1 in 6 people has one. The odds just aren’t in your favor if we really face a situation with violent looting and unrest.

  6. This is incredibly comprehensive! I’m a bit of a Prepper. Not Doomsday style but I’ve been slowly building our emergency supplies in preparation for the Big One in SF because I know we’re due. It does get expensive but I’d rather spend the money for the basics and not need it then to find ourselves totally unprepared and stranded without supplies for days after a massive earthquake assuming we survive it.

    A few points I have to keep reminding myself to be aware of: make sure you have enough stuff but also regularly assess if you can all carry your assigned bags. Water is HEAVY.

    Then practice doing it so you know your route. When I was home with an infant and huge dog, we practiced things like me carrying a large pack and the baby and navigating stairs together. The dog is now trained to go up and down stairs ahead of me on command and wait at the top or bottom so that I’m not trying to hold his leash and a kid and a bag.

    Make sure to rotate your supplies so you don’t find yourself with expired stuff in the event.

    Plan for different stages of evacuation: the get out NOW version versus the get out soon version. The latter one means I’ll bring more supplies in a rolling suitcase and not risk going with only what I can carry (not nearly enough for 4).

    And have basic supplies for your daily routine: you might be in your car or at work when it hits. Have something basic at each location.

    1. Great tips, Revanche! I have mostly business-oriented supplies in my EDC, I have an emergency kit in my car + a good amount of water, and then my bug in bag. I’m going to put together a much smaller emergency evacuation bag that I can use just in case. I’m not that concerned about water “expiring,” and most of my food is good for 30+ years because I splurged and got that Blue Mountain stuff. Plus cans of course, and I rotate those out every few months.

      Great job taking your gear around and training your dog. I’ll throw on my fully loaded backpack once a month or so and do a 5 mile walk. It isn’t particularly comfortable, but I can d it. And I can’t realistically walk that far anyway because I live in a densely populated area. I’ll be driving, or staying put. Anyone who is caught walking around with lots of gear during a dangerous situation is easy pickings, doesn’t matter what “defense” you have

  7. Baby wipes are definitely part of my bug-in bag. If power is out in winter and I don’t want a freezing shower, a few baby wipes can at least allow me to feel refreshed. I think folks need to remember that a few hundred in small bills is really most helpful. My girlfriend’s brother gave me some 2-dollar bills for Christmas one year and I loved it. Very easy to grab in case getting away quickly is important.

    1. Agreed, baby wipes + money is super useful. Staying clean really helps you out mentally, even in tough situations. And as long as the government hasn’t collapsed, then cash will still be accepted, although things will definitely be more expensive.

      1. Agreed. I got my long-haired girlfriend some dry shampoo when I visited last. (She had mentioned wanting some) I know that even if she has to skip a shower, which is not unusual now that her city is dealing with the aftermath of Harvey, she can look more presentable. That matters to her and to others who interact with her.

  8. Perfect timing! And, I love the details you provided, David. It is funny we don’t think of preparing for one, when in reality it takes a very little monetary commitment and perhaps the same trip as a grocery/shopping run to Target to get the things together.

    1. You’re welcome, Ruby. People in Florida really need to pay attention, government and civilian aid will be slow to get to the region. If Irma hits hard, the Red Cross will really start running out of emergency supplies, and aid might be slower.

  9. This is a great rundown! We keep stocked for the power outages and potential “snowed in” blizzard days, but we are fortunate to be in an area that is outside the more severe storm/natural disaster areas.

    1. Preparing for those threats is very important. We depend on electricity for almost everything. If you are snowed in during a blizzard, there is almost always a power outage for some percentage of the people affected, and smaller county roads often aren’t plowed for days.

    1. Agreed. Right now, it looks like Irma might hit South Carolina the hardest. People still have 4-5 days to prepare, but I can imagine supermarkets are running low on food, water, and gasoline.

  10. I walked over the Manhattan Bridge in high heels in 2003, and hosted my parents who were homeless for over a month after Sandy. Welcome home! I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately.Obvious enough after sitting glued to the TV worrying about my brother in law in Tampa, and then my good friends who just moved back to Puerto Rico. The NY Times just did a story on how to prepare. And yet I still find it very overwhelming. Where to begin?

    1. Thank you for commenting!

      So there is obviously a ton of information, and there are hundreds of blogs dedicated to this topic. The thing is, these blogs make money off selling you stuff, so their recommendations are skewed. I refuse to do that. Preparing for emergencies can be a life or death action, and I refuse to profit off it.

      Here’s what I recommend:
      1. Figure out what emergencies you need to prepare for
      2. Read the news about what typically happens during these emergencies
      3. Create a “stay home” or “ride the storm” plan
      4. Create an evacuation plan
      5. Buy supplies and equipment to support your “ride the storm” and evacuation plan

      What I typically recommend for your “stay home” plan is 7 days worth of food and water for each person. Assume 2,000 calories and 64 ounces of water per person, per day. Make sure you have enough clothes to stay warm (blankets are awesome), flashlights, batteries for your flashlights, and also pick up a large battery pack. It’ll charge your electronics. Finally, make sure you have entertainment. This could be a board game, audio books, podcasts, etc. You’ll be happy to have that backup power if you use your iPhone to keep yourself sane.

      For your evacuation plans, well, it depends. Sounds like you’re in Brooklyn. You won’t be evacuating very far, there are too many people around you. Just imagine how bad the roads and trains will be with about 10 million people trying to get out. However, maybe you’ll walk a mile or two to your friends house and take shelter there, or even your parents. For your evacuation plan, you should have 1 small to medium-sized backpack per person. The backpack should contain emergency supplies. Maybe 1,000 – 2,000 calories of food, 16 – 64 ounces of water, mylar emergency blankets, basic toiletries (wipes, feminine hygiene, etc), a flashlight. Anything you think it will take to get you those few miles to your friends or “escape” location. The goal should be a small backpack that weighs no more than 10 pounds, so you can quickly run and escape to safety.

      If you have any other questions, please let me know.

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