How to get started making an emergency plan

The 4 things to think about when it comes time to begin planning

1. Talk to your family — explain that it's time to get yourselves better prepared for scary situations.

2. Consider your home location and the obvious threats to that location. Are you most likely to be threatened by storms, flooding, or an earthquake?

3. Supply your shelters with critical disaster supplies and gear. (Sound complicated? That's what we're here for — to help.)

4. Practice. Do a drill or two with your family. Take supplies out of packages and learn to use them.

How do you begin to prepare? Start at the beginning

It's time to get yourself better prepared, you say? Well, you're in the right place. Let's talk

First of all, no, you’re not crazy. You’ve found yourself here at Preparation Concierge because you realize that you and your family need to be better prepared than you currently are. It doesn’t mean you’re a raving survivalist or some fringe doomsday prepper. Rather you realize that in this topsy-turvy world, you want to take back some control. But where do you start? What do you really need? And how do you begin without going overboard? We here at Preparation Concierge are here to help. We started out just like you. We live in places like New York, Austin, and California, and realized that we weren’t prepared in cases of earthquakes, hurricanes, electrical outages, or terrorist attacks.

So we started by doing a list of simple things. Here those items are, in order. There are only four of them! Take a breath. In many ways its easier than a bunch of other stuff we do in life (like, take out actual insurance, or make a will, or clean out the attic).

"It's scary to acknowledge the probability that your life will be affected by a calamity at some point."

1. Talk to your family. Oddly, this is a great place to start, but a difficult step. You will likely get a few uncomfortable reactions. It goes back to the “crazy survivalist” thing. But more than that, it’s scary to acknowledge the probability that your lives will be affected by a calamity at some point. That IS an uncomfortable truth.

Take heart. They’ll think about it, and they’ll come around. Which is essential, as you’ll want your spouse, parents, siblings, to get on-board. After all, there will be expenses and time devoted. Also, they’ll need to learn where the disaster preparation gear is, and how to use that equipment.

2. Consider your home and the obvious threats to that location. Where is your primary home? We call that the home shelter. And how is it set up for an emergency? A tiny studio apartment in downtown L.A. dictates different emergency supplies than a house with a backyard and a vegetable garden in Houston. Wherever possible, we’ve notated the critical emergency gear that is best for apartments and small spaces.

Next, look at the most obvious threats, using history as a lesson. Is there area prone to flooding, wildfires, or hurricanes? Do you live on an island like New York City? Is it a high-target area for terrorism? If any of those are the case, you should be prepared to evacuate your home. (Total bummer, we know.)

Storm threatens disaster
If a storm is threatening your Home Shelter, evacuation is not a bad idea

So you need to figure out WHERE to go. We call this an away shelter. This is a place where you and your family and loved ones can get together, far enough from home that it will likely be out of harm’s way. But close enough to reach by foot if need be.

Which brings us to evacuation. It’s an important one. You’ll need a strategy and some critical thinking.

3. Supply your shelters with critical disaster supplies and gear. Sure, that sounds reasonable, right? But what the heck do you actually need? That’s exactly what Preparation Concierge is designed for. We’ve looked at the scenarios and tested the gear in real life. For a REALLY simple list of stuff to buy, see our Simple List, which breaks down gear by your lifestyle and budget.

"This stuff takes time. We suggest you buy the most critical items first, and add over time. We all do the best we can."

Or you can begin going through our Gear with advice categories, starting with Water; Food & Cooking; Lights, Power & Warmth; Security, health & sanitation; and Go bag, vehicle & evacuation. If you’d prefer to just browse all the gear, go to our Full list, which allows you to filter.

An important note: This stuff takes time. We suggest you buy the most critical items first, for each of your shelter situations, and then continue adding over time. You’ll be less likely to get overwhelmed. And know that short of just buying an entire REI and CostCo, combining them, and erecting a force field over them, there's no way to be completely prepared anyhow. We just do the best we can. (Cool concept for a Stephen King novel though, huh?)

4. Think critically about potential disasters. Learning is fun, right? You’ll want to do some reading on survival skills. But even more critically, you should take out that shiny new gear and USE it. There's a lot of overlap among skills like camping and outdoor life, in general. We suggest unwrapping everything and testing it out for yourself.

Now, was that so bad?

Sane ways to deal with scary stuff