Preparedness is a huge subject and educational resources abound. You will find detailed supply recommendations and lists on local and national websites. FEMA, via Ready.gov is the leader in helping you prepare. Your state has a Department of Emergency Management, as does your county and, likely, your city or town. Those will not be replicated here. What we can do, however, is help you get your arms around it.
You can do it! Take small steps. Plan for the thinkable.
#1 Prepare Your Health:
When disaster strikes, you want to be as healthy, robust, fit, strong and prepared as you can possibly be. Thus, you can better fight off illness, dig yourself out of the rubble, rescue others and maintain emotional health. Eat nutritionally dense food. Exercise both cardio and strength training. Get quality sleep that supports your circadian rhythm. Manage your stress. Laugh.
2# Make a Plan:
Sit down with your family and discuss sheltering in place and mass care sheltering. Plan evacuation routes out of your home and out of your neighborhood. Decide upon a reunion site outside your home and outside your neighborhood. Make a communication plan that shares phone numbers and provides you with an out of region contact to act as your family switchboard. Long distance lines are more likely to be working than local lines. Have hard copies of these numbers with you. Plan with your neighbors.
#3 Build A Kit:
Be sure to have a basic disaster supply kit in each vehicle and one at home for “grab and go” situations. Be ready to live out of it for 3 days. First aid kits in each vehicle and at home can be augment with disasters in mind, with extra bandages, dressings, masks and medical exam gloves.
#4 Store Water:
Store 1 gallon of water per person and pet per day. Having a supply of potable water is critical to your safety. It is one of the most challenging preparedness actions. Start by storing extra cases of hard plastic or glass water bottles.
#5 Store Emergency Food and other supplies: Food, water and toilet paper are at the top over everyone’s stockpile list. When you buy personal care products, cleansers or detergent, buy extra and cycle them into use. We have more on our Food Security page. Be sure to include the needs of your pets in your stores.
#6 Think About it. Start by addressing the things that you miss if the power was out for a few days. Do your best to prepare for that. Then add another scenario based on events that happen in your area.
Think About "What if?". What if there was a fire at your home tonight? What if you had to walk home? What if communications were down?
#7 Get Trained: Standard First Aid, Wilderness First Aid, Mountaineering First Aid and CERT (FEMA"s Community Emergency Response Team). FEMA's Emergency Management Institute has free online courses.
When disaster strikes, you’ll be glad that you became more resilient.