3-Step Disaster Plan

Protect your family against natural calamity by preparing grab-and-go bags, a communication plan, and emergency supplies.

Weather the Storm, Step 3

3. Stock up on provisions, in case your family is forced to “hunker down” for a while

Remember that the electricity may go out; in addition to having no lights, you may be unable to cook, and may have no heat, air conditioning, television, computer, or working toilet.

Below is a basic list of provisions. Store them in a closet, a cabinet, or another agreed-upon, easily reached location in your home.


  • three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day)
  • water-purification tablets, in case your water supply runs out
  • three-day supply of canned or other nonperishable food for each family member, as well as for all pets
  • disposable forks, knives, spoons, cups, plates, and napkins
  • bottle opener and manual can opener
  • small camp stove, with fuel and matches
  • digital thermometer (refrigerated food needs to be 40 degrees F or lower, and frozen food 0 degrees F or lower)
  • plastic bags for garbage and food-storage
  • one change of clothing and footwear per person
  • one blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • basic toiletry items
  • toilet tissue and paper towels
  • plastic bucket, with a cover (to use as an outdoor toilet)
  • liquid soap, antibacterial moist towelettes, disposable plastic gloves
  • battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
  • one flashlight for each family member, with extra batteries
  • first-aid kit
  • whistle
  • fire extinguisher
  • tool kit (consisting of a multi-bladed knife, hammer, Phillips-head screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, and pliers)
  • reflective tape, to make clothes, shoes, flashlights, or other equipment visible in the dark
  • landline telephone and a cell phone with extra batteries

  • It’s a long list, I know. But it should take you only a few hours to buy everything and find a place to store it all. You may wish to declare a “family preparedness day,” on which the whole family gets together to shop for provisions, bring them home, store them, and review your family communication/reunion plan.

    ADDers tend toward perfectionism, but that can get in the way when you’re preparing for disaster. It’s impossible to prepare for every contingency. But as long as you pack grab-and-go bags, prepare a communication plan, and assemble your “hunker down” provisions, you’ll have the basics covered. That’s all you should aim for.


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