Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
The whole point of preparedness is to be ready when a disaster strikes. If a hurricane is heading your way, you don’t want to be in line at the store with hundreds of other people buying whatever supplies are left. You want to be at home with your family, secure in the fact that you have all the supplies you need.
But what if it’s too late? Imagine you’re one of those people who likes the idea of preparedness but never really got into it, and now a disaster is looming and you only have hours left to prepare. What should you do?
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Again, you don’t want to let yourself end up in this situation. But in case you are, here is a list of last-minute preps to do/get before it’s too late.
1. Fill Your Gas Tank And Propane Tanks
It’s a good idea to fill a few gas containers to have on hand as well. If you use a wood-burning stove, refresh your supply of wood.
2. Charge Batteries for Your Phones and Other Electronics
Also, get extra batteries for radios, flashlights, and other essentials that cannot be re-charged. If you don’t have car chargers for your phones and tablets, get some.
3. Do Your Laundry
Avoid letting dirty clothes and linens pile up. That way, you won’t be without clean clothes in the event of a power outage. (And in case you are, here’s what to do.)
4. Wash Your Dishes
Ditto from number three for your dishes, pots, and pans. If water becomes a precious commodity, you’ll be sorry you didn’t take the time to clean what you could beforehand.
5. Check Your Supply of Non-Perishable Food
Many people stocked up on shelf-stable food for the first time this past spring. Do you still have enough canned soup, rice, beans, and pasta? How is your supply of canned and frozen vegetables? Keep a manual can opener nearby your canned goods. Pay particular attention to foods that you can eat without cooking.
6. Visit Your Pharmacy
Refill your family’s prescriptions and restock your first aid kit with antibiotic ointment, bandages, and pain relievers.
7. Think About Other Health-Related Essentials
Medicines are not all we need to maintain our bodies. Here’s a checklist of some of the other items you may need to purchase.
- Contact lenses and lens solution
- Feminine hygiene supplies
- Body lotion
- Baby needs
- Tissue and toilet paper
8. Go To The Bank
Having cash on hand can be a lifesaver if banks close and ATMs shut down. Keep a good supply of bills in small denominations at home in a safe location.
9. Stock Up On Candles, Lighters, and Matches.
These inexpensive items can be worth their weight in gold during an extended power outage.
10. Remain Hydrated
Fill the water bottles you have and keep a supply of store-bought jugs and bottles of water on hand. If a disaster is imminent, fill your sinks and bathtubs with water too.
11. Replenish Your Supply Of Ammunition
If you have firearms, check your amount of ammo.
12. Assemble a Bug out Bag for Each Family Member
The contents of each backpack will vary somewhat depending on the age of the person. Store your filled bags in a convenient location, such as near the back door or in the garage, where they are easy to find and grab. Think about including survival items to last for three days. Here is a list to get you started.
- Water bottle and water purification device
- Long-lasting foods such as jerky, trail mix, energy bars, and instant noodles
- Extra set of clothes, including socks
- Firestarters (lighter or matches)
- First-aid supplies
- Hygiene items
- Tarp or tent
- Pocket knife
- Plastic bags (trash bags and small zippered ones)
- Pen and paper
- Deck of cards, crosswords or other small games
13. Purchase Cleaning Items
Many stores ran out of wipes and cleansers as part of the COVID-19 shutdowns. People are already hardwired to stock up on these items again. Don’t wait to purchase bleach, anti-bacterial wipes, and other cleaners you’ll need in an emergency. It is not necessary to hoard these items, however.
14. Collect Essential Documents
Place your important papers in an easy-to-grab large envelope. Pull together your family’s passports, birth certificates, marriage license, and insurance policies. Then place the paper envelope inside a zippered plastic bag for added safety.
15. Fill In Freezer Gaps
If the power goes out, the items in your freezer will stay frozen longer if your freezer is full. Fill in any gaps with sealed plastic bags filled with water. Keep the freezer door closed as much as possible.
16. Prepare For Fire
Fires can result from many emergencies. Make sure you have working fire extinguishers and hook up water hoses for easy access. Sand buckets and fire blankets also are a good idea.
17. Prepare For High Winds
Clear away branches and debris that could cause a hazard in a storm. Secure your outdoor furniture, grills, and other large items that could become dangerous projectiles. Clear out gutters, downspouts and storm drains.
18. Check Your Tools
See that your tools are in good working order. For example, is your chain saw ready to go if you need to cut fallen trees in the driveway? When was the last time you sharpened your ax? Don’t forget to include versatile items such as duct tape and fishing lines in your preparations.
19. Prepare An Emergency Contact List
When a crisis strikes, the mind can go blank. Have a written list of who to contact in case of an emergency. Your list can include family members, doctors, and insurance personnel. In the unlikely event that you get separated from your children, place emergency contact information in their bugout bags.
Remember that there is a difference between preparing for a crisis and panic-buying. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed many people hoarding items because they let fear take over their minds.
Buying massive supplies of toilet paper or bleach may make you feel as if you have some control over things. But the shortages that result may hurt others who need those items. When you purchase only what you need, you help your family while not endangering others.
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One problem is that “experts” tell people they should have all the gear they have when most of us have lots of useful items already. You do not HAVE to own a sleeping bag and liners or covers. You can make a bed with a tarp on the ground and use blankets from your house. You can use cheap plastic sheeting, drop clothes (Same thing) or even trash bag to create waterproof barriers to stay dry.
Survival is not about brands or a “best seller’s list”. And anyone can buy everything they need for a “bug out bag” in a couple of transactions. We live in a consumer society, so buying stuff is easy be it new things or used things.
Anyone can prepare for emergencies. And if gets really bad you trade what you have for what you need or trade services. And you learn not to rely solely on disposable items.
I tend to prefer to promote a more positive attitude of one can adapt, one can build up and one can learn how to improvise.
Don’t forget your pets! Food, water and shelter for them, too. They are family.
Tom Latham says
When you look at all the options and suggestions on this thread it seems hopeless. How can we be prepared completely? No one can be perfectly, and thoroughly prepared, but anything you do to prepare puts you in a better place than those who don’t. The point is, do what you can, NOW, because some day it WILL pay off. Water, food, medicine, first aid, defense ( guns, ammo, knife, plastic garbage bags, flash light and extra batteries, maybe solar light, bleach for water purification, para cord, fishing line, #6 hooks, masking tape, soap, t paper, pain killers, anti inflamitories, Ext. Start NOW and do your best. Everything you do gives you an advantage.
Also have the necessary items ready for gardening. You don’t have to have a huge garden, something is better than nothing. Just have a plan……
Bill t says
No problem! It. Won’t happen to me. Yea right! Some people won’t help them selves or any one else.Help is a two way. Street. steer Clear.
Mic Roland says
Some things will run out before others.
Per #11, it’s already too late in many areas. The regular retail shelves are empty of the most common sizes. What little appears on the online auction market is super-expensive.
Check out diy sites, stuff made at home usually better, & tons of Bushcraft education vlogs on YouTube, Happy hunting!
Jennifer Davis Allen says
My brother came over today to put up some shelves for me. He asked why I needed them, and I told him it was for preparedness items. He had no Idea what I was talking about. I said, you know how with Covid 19 so many people were unprepared and rushed to the store emptying shelves of everything and often couldn’t get what they needed? (including my daughter and her family) I said I didn’t want any of us to have to do without. He thought I am crazy but I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Really, our Mom brought us up to be prepared. She grew up during the depression and has always had her pantry stocked with extras of everything.
“But what if it’s too late?”
If it’s is there is no way a person would be able to do all of the things on this list.
The ENTIRE POINT of the article is to say DO IT NOW BEFORE ITS TOO LATE.
My wife and “have” done them all and much, much more. Also remember, ” He who beats his swords into plow shares and his spears into pruning hooks will serve those who do not”.