brown and white bread on display counter

Are You Prepared?

For years we have heard and perhaps even seen “Preppers” getting ready for some “unseen” event. To you and some others this may have seemed crazy, over-kill, not necessary by our standards perhaps?

How prepared are you and your family? Maybe you have meant to get your family secured, get a plan worked out, you know, just in case.

Let’s think about where to start assuming you have not.

The best way to begin is with the basics.

Build a 72-Hour Survival Stash

You may want to start simply by gathering a simple 72-hour survival stash of supplies. This stash forms the basis and core for all your prepping here on out.
Buying a few things as you can afford it will build your emergency supplies quicker than you realize. But, you simply must start, don’t wait! You can buy a few things here and there with the intentions of it going into your supply stash. Before you know it, you will have every single item on your list.

As you build, keep it going until you extend your survival supplies kit. When you get a 72-hour supply, then build to a week supply, then two weeks, later a month, etc.

The following is a basic list outlining items that should be a part of your stash:

  • Water – Bottled or jugs of water; purified and ready to drink. A minimum of one gallon per person in your house per day. One gallon per person per day will be enough for hydration, cooking and basic hygiene. If you live in a sweltering area, you will need to plan for and save more. Temperatures cause sweating and lost of fluids.
  • Food – You can go longer without food than you can water. However, going without food begins to lower your energy levels and your mind/thinking abilities. Adults need about 2000 calories a day, but, this can be lessened with no severe effects for some time. Choose canned, or pouched shelf-stable food that requires the least amount of preparation.
  • Lighting – Flashlights and electric lanterns, candles, and even solar and regular batteries are needed in your stash. Power is generally out during any disaster. Oil or other liquid fuel presents dangers, so be aware of their use and choose carefully.
  • Fire Extinguisher – In America alone, losses from home fires reach into the billions of dollars of damage each year. Therefore keeping high-quality fire extinguishers strategically located, where everyone is aware of their location is a must.
  • Map and Compasses – Landmarks, street and highway signs, and other navigational landmarks can become destroyed in disasters. Be prepared, keep a map and compass in your stash to ensure you and your family get to safety after disaster hits.
  • Additional Clothing – Keep a few changes of clothes for each member of your family in your stash. Choose clothing that is quick-drying, protective, and loose enough as not to hinder movement. Include socks, underwear, gloves, and hats/caps.
  • Blankets, Sleeping Bags, etc.  Exposure is one of the single biggest killers on Earth in the context of an emergency, so you have to be prepared for dealing with it. Prepare to stay warm and dry.
  • Important Documents –A flash-drive, external hard-drive or even a paper file with your most important data should be kept near you in a safe place. Encrypt this information if possible or otherwise protect it to keep your entire identity our of the wrong hands. This includes things such as drivers licenses, passports, deeds, titles, account information, etc.
  • Emergency Radio and/or Police Scanner – Disasters usually mean no power for TV or the internet. So you most likely won’t be able to hear news and updates on developing situations unless you have an emergency crank radio or Police scanner.
  • Hygiene Items –During an extended disaster, it is essential you keep your body as clean as possible. This is not only for hygiene but also to help prevent getting ill and to keep your morale up. So add a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, foot and talc powder, disposable razors, and sanitary products as well. Keep in mind that water may well be scarce so some rags and a clean 5-gallon bucket for taking sponge baths should also be a part of your stash.
  • Tarps – Tarps are an essential item for your stash. Tarps serve as a makeshift shelter, clean ground cloth and can even patch holes in your roof and catch rainwater for drinking. Obtain Tarps with heavy-duty grommets and ensure you have suitable cordage for securing them.
  • Basic Medical Supplies – A well-supplied firs-aid kit will be an invaluable tool. Keep one in your stash!! Gauze, aspirin, bandaids, small scissors, anti-biotic cream, Benedryl, and anything you think you will need to treat illness or injury.

Learn Some Medical Skills

Don’t let intimidation keep you from learning a few necessary skills that could mean a matter of living or dying to someone you love. Anyone can learn these skills, and once you learn them, you will feel much better and more confident in your ability to take control of a bad situation. You should start at the beginning by learning:

  • CPR/resuscitation
  • The Heimlich Maneuver
  • How to Treat Heat Exhaustion/Heatstroke
  • Treatment for Frostnip/Frostbite/Hypothermia
  • How to recognize and intervene in a Stroke, Heart Attack or Seizures
  • Animal/Insect Stings, Bites and Anaphylactic Reactions
  • Simple Wound Dressing and treatments.

After you have the basics under your belt, move on to dealing with real trauma. Learn how to treat or at least stabilize:

  • Broken Bones
  • Head and Neck Injuries
  • Major Lacerations
  • Penetrating Injuries
  • Chemical Poisoning
  • Major Burns

Also, make sure you have the right supplies close at hand, both at home and when you are on the go.

Learn and Practice Your Shelter-in-Place and Escape Plans

Don’t wait till the last minute, thinking you can figure it out. You need to have a plan already in place and be practising it often enough you and your family know how you will react.

You may have to choose whether to leave the area as fast as you can or stay put and “shelter in place.” Either way, apply what you have practiced.

Have you mapped out alternatives to those routes and the backup plans for where you will stay if the original methods fail? If you are sheltering in place, are there steps you need to take before the onset of the disaster?

Beef Up Your Home’s Security

Home invasion is a terrifying thing, to say the least. The sad thing is the majority of American homes, including apartments, are dreadfully easy to break into.

There are a few simple steps you can initiate in just a couple of hours to increase the safety of your home. In a week with some diligent effort, you can turn your home into a veritable fortress by doing the following:

Keep all windows and doors locked at all times!

  • Upgrade Door and Window Screws, Hinges, Hardware
  • Use or Install Anti-Kick Device
  • Consider Installing Camera and Alarm Systems

Better quality screws will help resist forced entry from kicking or ramming the doors.

Consider installing anti-kick hardware on exterior doors. One of the best and the most popular is the Door Devil.

Even if home invaders are successful in overcoming and kicking in your door, the time they take doing so could buy time for mounting a defence.

One more thing that goes a long way in security is installing a home security system. Cameras that record and alert you to movement in your perimeter. This system is important enough to work and save toward if you cannot afford one soon.

The ability to see outside your house and your area without exposing yourself are invaluable.

There are many systems from which to choose. Search online for the best one you can afford. Do it now, and you will thank yourself later!!

Keep Safety mobile:

The EDC movement has become something of a trend in the United States and other places in the world.

EDC stands for “everyday carry”, referring to small tools and various supplies that will significantly increase your survival chances in any given situation.

If you pepper spray, a good folding pocket knife, cell phone and perhaps a compact first-aid kit, you’ll be drastically more prepared than 90% of people you meet on the street.

Many preppers choose to carry a firearm as part of their lives to prepare for possible violence against themselves or their loved ones. Don’t forget ammunition! Whatever you bring, should work for you.

Your Business matters:

It is highly doubtful that your business will be tops on your list for worry. However, at some point, after the crisis has subsided, you may want to return to continue your business.

If you are fortunate, perhaps you have a home-based business such as a Compumatrix. With a founder and staff who have not only taken care of themselves and their loved ones but also secured operations on their end. So that once they are back, they can comply with “new normals” and be flexible enough to change with new rules of operations.

It goes without saying there are specific steps one must do to safeguard files and records. 

Keep all critical account information, website addresses, passwords, usernames, keys, etc. on jump drives and hardware devices. Make several copies so if one is lost, you have a backup. Of course, keep them in safe places where you can return to them when/if needed.

IF you own cryptocurrency, keep that information to yourself!! This is for your benefit as well as for those you love!!

Your business may need to alter what we think of as normal operations. The “New Normal” will, out of the necessity of survival, be adopted. This could take time so be prepared to be patient. Remember, this isn’t a comfortable situation for anyone involved.

While you are in “waiting mode” find alternative ways to produce income. Consider setting up a temporary store online. Let the entrepreneur spirit in you shine!!

Sell your wares online –

As I mentioned before, this is a great option and a great opportunity. If you haven’t been selling online, now’s your chance to start. Setting up an online store is super easy, and doing so will expand your business beyond your doorstep...

What? You’re not a retail store? No problem. You can always sell gift cards online. And I highly recommend selling them at a discounted price to both help your customers save money, and have something to look forward to

If you don’t already have an eCommerce site, we’ve got you covered with two options. The first is shoppable landing pages. The second option is to open an online store...


The place to start is with fundamentals; the time to start is now! Over time your stash and techniques for managing crisis’ will evolve. You will become more aware of how to keep yourself, your home business and your loved ones safe so that you can display this proudly:

About the author

Born in Illinois and the third oldest child of 10 children. Gail learned many lessons in life that would serve her well in her future. Patience, sharing, compassion, understanding, love, and acceptance were a way of life. Family is significant to Gail as a mother of three herself.
Gail lives by the motto "live and let live," and she takes pride in helping others. Educated, yes, but believes life is the best teacher and learning depends highly on an open mind.


  1. Wow great information here I have about 50% of this at home now but still needs some work on my part. There is some reminders in this blog that I realize I don’t have so it is good to know. Always better safe then sorry I know some have no plan and no supplies but like you said if you just get a few items a week it will build up in time.

  2. Great information, Gail! The most important issue in being prepared with a survival plan we felt was to start right away if you don’t have anything in place or re-assess and add to your plan if you do have one. We have been doing this for many years – there are always new and better ways to do things or purchase items that are more efficient. We have gone through our saved water supply several times! Be sure and cover all the areas Gail mentions so you are as protected as need be. Plus, even if nothing catastrophic does happen, these skills are life skills, and we never know when we need to use them for ourselves, family or for others!

  3. My friend Bronwyn would love this post. She is a serial prepper and has been preparing for the worst ever since I met her which is about 15 years ago. At the same time, she became a minimalist, so the stash of prepped stuff became a lot smaller than it was previously. Every time she tells me about something she has added to her emergency stash, she makes me feel guilty for not starting one myself. I have no space….None! I need to become a minimalist first before I can start collecting just in case stuff. It’s not me…its the other people who live in my house. They have cluttered my life so badly that I have two places left that I can call my own. Thank you for the list, Gail. At least I have something to work towards now.

  4. very interesting and practical information in this blog gail — i am not a prepper perse’ but I do not believe in overwhelming personal possessions — and being on own for awhile I have the basics and have some of the emergency supplies — but since not in my own property — i don;t have some those parts — but may do a little more stocking just in case it does get weird or goes down hill here — ??

  5. Wow, what an extensive list and as far as home prep, we are ready for at least a month. Home invasion is always another thing, it is hard to be totally prepared for what could happen but I do trust our tasers/stun gun. Home security in these trying times can never be expressed enough. I know after the military, I always worried about survival situations, but mostly these days I trust God will get me and my family through these events, but thanks for the very exhaustive list, just wonderful

  6. Wow what a list and no i am not a prepper for sure, mostly because of not having enough space living only in a big trailer. Also it would be a waste of food if i started buying cans , since i eat all fresh and hardly ever nothing from a can , but heck yes in an emergency they could come handy. Water storing in the summer heat , not my idea either so i hope i will never need it anytime soon. Food is not my main concern either, having always plenty at home to survive for some time with veggies and fruits growing around here .also.

  7. I remember changing phases from being concerned during the cold war years and everything is ok. These phases come and go with time but if you put together the supplies you might need then you don’t have to worry about what phase we are in. I have to admit I didn’t run down and buy a pallet of bottled water but many, I may have bought a roll or 2 of TP on the black market!

  8. Your list of preparedness supplies is concise and clear. The thought of getting all we need at once is overwhelming. As you stated in your article, we can purchase one or two items at a time, thus taking the pressure off. Some of these items we have implemented, but others had not even occurred, we would need. Thanks for your reminder and encouragement. The info for starting an online business is helpful, as I have been desirous of starting my own business. I have thought about it for many years, but Mr procrastination held me back. It will be great to be fully prepared and have a supplemental income.

  9. I enjoyed your blog very much Gail .Reason is,I have always been a prepper.
    Once this covid-19 hit and all businesses was locked down . and we all were told to stay in our homes. I was ready,Yes even had enough toilet paper for a year . I know ,I know , giggle if you want but I was ready for anything with out going to a store.
    Other than getting my supply of Vitamin C and Vitamin D-3 … I been ready for winter electric outages , fires like the one that swept through our community back about 20 years ago.
    The best thing you can do for yourself is invest in yourself.Seems people forget that part of being ready for just about anything.

    1. Oh, Lorna, I would never see humor in being prepared! I am a believer in being ready for the “Black Swan” events that usually catch us unaware! I know some snicker and poke fun at “preppers” but what I have seen is it’s the “Preppers” who has the last laugh! Kudos to you for being proactive in securing yourself and your lives to be ready for almost anything!!

  10. This is a fantastic article filled with practical and useful information! Thank you for posting it, Gail. After reading this I can honestly say that I am not prepared. I have tried to prepare for the worst many times over the years. However, in recent years I have let my guard down in the area of preparedness.

    Having read this article, I now plan to work at it and do better. But I have to give myself honorable mention for having survived a version of the worst. In the past 7 months, while locked down in the country with no car, I never ran out of food, water, or essentials.

  11. Very interesting article Gail, with everything that has happened in 2020, and with all that is happening in the world, this information is very prudent. I have always laughed at the Doomsday preparers but they don’t seem so way out there any more. Knowing how difficult it was to buy many of the stable food groups etc during the height of the first round of Corona virus, I like many am more apt to be prepared.

    I will be using much of the information you have shared with us to set up my preparer model, so that I have a plan to work from. Thanks for the great advice.

  12. Very helpful info Gail. My wife and I have had a “bug out bag” in the closet for about 4 years now. It is a nice sized backpack with all the essentials and enough freeze dried food for at least 3 days. We have a tent beside it. It is always ready to be grabbed if we need to vacate in a hurry. For years we have enjoyed watching the survival shows like, “Fat guys in the Woods” and ” Primal Survivor”. I hope that we will never ever need it, but it’s so smart to be prepared.

  13. very good analysis in the blog and the replies are just as informative — being ready and set to go if needed is not a bad thing in my opinion but also as in pretty much every phase of existence some carry the ball too far — and that puts a negative spin on some of the Correct stuff that should be done — Preparing for and being in step with — to me is where we all should be — good reading and great reminder information to help get prepared — thank you

  14. Thank you Gail for your important guidance! Here in Brazil my husband and I have been in isolation because of the Pandemic since March. We have some stock of food and basic necessities and so we are surviving. As for setting up an online business, I am participating in a mentoring to launch advice for online weddings, while I look forward to and hopefully being able to work exclusively for my business at Compumatrix.

  15. Very good suggestions given by you, Gail..
    Its high time that we be prepared. The basics that we need for anything than comes up, must always be ready for any emergency. Everything is so well-outlined for us, and that all we need to do is to follow your guidelines, Gail. Thank you.

  16. Great reminder post Gail! Thank you. We have been “preppers” I guess for as long as I can remember. Shop the specials, buy more than what is necessary for this week or month and rotate your pantry and supplies so nothing goes out of date. I have to confess my son did find some canned goods that were dated best by Nov 2011. No, those went out but it is a reminder to all of us to regularly check what you have and learn to store it properly. I grew up with some friends from the Mormon church and learned a lot from their parents on to store not just flour, beans, pasta, and the like but what to do before it is put into containers.
    Flour should be frozen for 10 to 30 days to kill off any weevils that are still in the flour, then pulled out and stored in your desired containers. Anything packaged in boxes should be removed & stored in other containers, tape instruction on the outside of the container. I learned all about the bugs in the boxes and that was how they got into the food. And one last thing, don’t forget your pets. Getting food and supplies for them and rotating it out as needed keeps their routine and it is less stress all around.

  17. Are You Prepared? Yes, I am. Have been on this road for several years. It is not hard to fill your food orders without breaking the bank if you purchase a few extra items from the very complete lists above. Great article by Gail by the way thanks.

    You don’t have to be some “lost in the fringe loon” to understand how quickly you can run out of food, water and the essentials. Stand by a supermarket five minutes after someone yells Hurricane in Florida. Rioters have nothing on this crowd of folks that will clean off the shelves in the store in record time.

    Miss Jane has some good old fashioned tips in the blog above this one. Looks like everyone else has us covered. Remember to pick up a few sun chargers for your phones and small radios. They last for years and work great. Keep gas in your vehicles.

    One massive power outage and we are in big trouble. Heed the advice of those of us who know how quickly things can turn ugly. Be prepared!!!!

  18. I feel bad. No, I’m not prepared, not even thought about it.
    Always thinking I`m cool not to worry, We don’t have an army, so never think of wars or invasion. Earthquakes could be a case but in 60 years never seen a building collapse. Burglary or robbery could happen but I don’t lose sleep over it
    Sickness, yes that worries, but don’t have a medical plan. Today’s pandemic, I just wash hands and wear a mask when I’m outside. The only thing I keep safe is my business keys safe.
    So, yes I feel bad and stupid, thinking nothing will ever happen to me or my family.
    Thank you Gail for opening my eyes and posting this blog.

  19. Very good information on preparing in advance for people that would not even know were to begin setting up for a catastrophe. Great starting plan as to not feel overwhelmed with getting set up as far as the step by step approach. I will definitely learn and apply for the future.

  20. Currently, based on this blog post, I am not prepared – lol, but I will have to get on that! I learned in school to pack a suitcase full of supplies/essentials in case my house ever burned down and I needed to leave quickly, but that is about it. This article made me think about how I need to be more prepared in the event of an emergency. Based on the current covid-19 crisis, it showed me how useful it would have been to have a survival kit ready in the case of another crisis situation.

  21. As a mom, I am always prepared for the worst because that is my job as a mother – to protect my babies. This blog post did make me think about other ways I can be more prepared in the event of an emergency. Normally I just think about my emergency fund to make sure I always have money readily available to use in the event of an emergency, but money cannot buy toilet paper if the toilet paper is unavailable (sold out) at all the local stores → true story as I’m sure you know due to covid-19.

  22. Growing up, my mom has always had a hidden stash of basically everything we would need during a crisis. So, when I am older I will have the tools to do this for myself and my family. But, this article makes me realize how many other tools and processes I need to get and learn to be fully prepared for a crisis. It might feel overwhelming to do this all at once, that is why the author said to start incorporating little every day extra items into your grocery to make it easier.

  23. I enjoyed the article, full of great information. I use to prep but since stopped. When the virus hit I thought it was a joke. I thought no way, my son is about to go on a trip to meet his dad and he’s all alone. I was sort of nervous but he made it back fine. People have been traveling with no issues. But I’ve not stocked up on things but hearing we could have round 2 of COVID coming makes me think I just need a few extra things. Wear your mask and stay safe if your older and nervous. in most places you can order online they deliver and leave on the porch. Very helpful to me. I have asthma so I try not to go out. I go for walks but keep my distance and I’m safe. We have many things happening just within our group we need to be ready for 😉

  24. I grew up with old school parents who had lived through the depression much the same as you were Gail. We were taught from a very young age to always be prepared for any emergency. I spent many years camping and learning how to survive without all of the luxuries of home. I am so happy my parents took the time to teach me what I needed to know because it sure came in handy. I also pack a car charger for my cell phone just in case my electricity goes out.

  25. Being prepared like a Girl Scout has always been very important to me. Growing up we had canned provisions……just in case an emergency occurred. Today we have an emergency closet of food and emergency items. I also believe you need to be prepared with a designated area of important papers, the car filled with gasoline and cash quickly accessible in case you have to run out.

  26. I am not a prepper and have not stashed essentials even during those times when earthquake hit our city a couple of times in two successive months. There were several attempts but I never did it. But securing our house from intruders is my priority. Doors have double lock and windows have grills, except some on the second floor which I am confident will be difficult to climb. As for my Compumatrix business, I intend to buy an Ipad or Tablet dedicated solely for this purpose. I also plan to add one or two jump drives that will contain critical account information.

  27. really enjoyed coming back and reading this blog and the info in it is so important for many especially with the pandemic and here in the states at least living in cities is not as safe as it once was — and do believe that it will get worse in some parts of some cities but time will tell whole Truth — great stuff here to be prepped —

  28. Hi Gail,
    You always bring us a great advise, I agree with you that home security is very very important, I can see the relation between the unemployment and the increase in crime rates, I like the installed camera on the front and the back of the home with recording system, which you can use your cell phone to watch over your home, also I like to have at least one fire extinguisher in every floor.
    Great advise, thanks

  29. Gail,Very informative article,The list you provide can be very useful for any kind of survival,It is very important for us to be ready to deal with natural disasters or any kind of bad situation,crime is on the rise all over the world,keep items that are necessary for these situations,I think it is very important for us to keep laptops and necessary documents safe at this time,may God protect us all forever,Amen

  30. this is very practical info in this blog and the replies are helpful also — and as time does proceed forward or ahead — having an alternate or backup thought process not a bad idea and that is not just American thought process but worldwide — may be very intriguing over next few years ?? be prepared is smart —

  31. It is always good to be prepared. I think about the people in Georgia that got stuck on the highway in freezing weather a few years back. I think of how some of these resources may have come in handy. I did see where an emergency lantern could be made with an empty paint can, stuffed with a roll or rolls of toilet paper, doused in alcohol, and the lid placed back on, and then taping a cigarette lighter to the outside.

  32. over the last few months there are more and more parts of this great blog that are becoming more prevalent — as this year ends my hope is for a much more aware 2021 but time does tell whole truth but in all honesty the more All of us are prepped for disasters and mistakes the better — great read n great info —

  33. I try to actually follow some of these guidelines. I try to keep an emergency crate in the back of the car with all sorts of things. I have gloves, socks, solar battery pack, heavy boots, and blankets, etc. I have never been caught on the road in a snow storm, but it does not snow much in my state.

  34. Thank you Gail for a well thought of Blog with great suggestion to be ready in case of any disaster or crisis.All the points are clearly made and easy to follow.All the supplies needed should be amassed by all of us for survival in case of any unforeseen event.I may add owning a home generator which may come in handy for a short period in case of need.Having Rice,various lentils eg red beans black eyed peas ming dal. etc have a long shelf life .and can be very handy in case of need.

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