Basic Disaster Readiness for the Home

Simple and convenient steps everyone should take
Updated 09feb24

Power outages, fires, floods, earthquakes, wind, and storms can interrupt utilities, phones, stores, ATMs, and travel. You can be forced to leave your home because of flooding, sewage backflow, fire, chemical accident, or terrorist threat. These things occur when you are least prepared. This is an inexpensive common sense preparation document. It will help your commute and vacations.

The large disaster relief organizations can provide basic relief for a lot of people, but need a few days to get set up. Wise people are prepared to handle problems on their own for at least a week.

Don't buy any survival kits or anything you are not familiar with. After the power goes out is not the time to try something new. Don't waste your money buying "special survival food". It will probably get old before you need it. Just keep your regular canned goods stocked.

This is not a complete guide to preparation; it is only to give you a starting place. Experience, training and special equipment provide better preparation. And nothing is better than common sense (which doesn't seem to be very common).

The most effective way to prepare is to have good friends and neighbors. And that means being a good friend to your neighbors. The people who are well connected socially to those nearby do the best when disaster strikes. The only thing better is to be part of a neighborhood group that prepares for disaster together.

Copyright 2005-2024 Ken Young ( All rights reserved.
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Click here if your household won't
cooperate with these preparations
Click here for taking care of parents
or children living on their own
Click here if you live
with your parents

Why most planning is simple

Most people do the wrong thing when confronted with a disaster. This is their first time in the situation, they aren't ready for it, and they need to decide what to do under stress. Most often, they choose incorrectly, compounding the problem.
Making simple plans and preparations that can be used for any disaster, large or small improves your situation a great deal.

To prepare for trouble

Plan ahead

Get everybody ready

Set up an X-plan for the kids

The kid is in a situation he doesn't feel comfortable with, or feels wrong somehow. The X-plan lets them get out of it gracefully.

The kid texts a parent with an "X". The parent waits a few minutes, then calls the kid back. The parent orders the kid to come home now or comes to get him. The kid can even pretend he doesn't want to. Kid gets out of the situation gracefully.

Kid is immune to punishment when texting "X". They might be somewhere they aren't supposed to be, out past curfew, and smell like cigarettes, but there is no punishment and they don't have to explain themselves.

Get the house ready

Get the supplies ready

Supplies for people

Food & water



Stay warm


Other supplies

Get the electronics ready

Get everything else ready

Live ready

Last minute preparations

Your preparation needs will differ. Go over this list once a year to make sure you are still prepared.

See also

Preparing for others Home emergency kits
For kids Zip kits
Preparing at work 72-hour kits
Preparing your car During & afterwards
Spiritual disaster readiness
Scarves <coming soon>
People you live with won't cooperate House Fire Prevention

This information was downloaded from