—"The commute, the kids, the mortgage. Baby, it's a dream! Really, it's amazing. But we've had the power go out three times in the last two years. What's next?"

Here you'll find:

You and your family live near a big city, but no longer in the big city. The stresses and issues have changed. But you have to contend with weather and electrical outages.

This basic list is NOT exhaustive. But it will get you well on your way to having the basics to get by for a week or more without ready access to outside food and water.


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Family in burbs

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Food and cooking

Mountain House 14-Day Emergency Food Supply Kit — surprisingly tasty; buy one per family member.

Emergency snacks — ideal non-perishables to have on hand.

Saratoga Farms Quick Oatmeal — an actual bucket's worth of hearty oatmeal.

Sterno Culinary Butane Stove — a backup way to heat up food and boil water.

Lights and power

5.11 Station 3D Tactical Flashlight — reliable, powerful flashlight.

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp — when you need the use of your hands.

Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern/USB Power Hub — a solar lantern for your dark bathroom and to read by.

Candlelife Emergency Survival Candles.

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 recharge devices multiple times when the power goes out.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Power Station, Rechargeable Generator — enough juice to run small appliances.


Red Cross Large Workplace First Aid Kit — handy first-aid supplies in one place.

First-Aid Kit Additions — medicine and first-aid add-ons.

Face masks — both adult and children sizes.


Midland Emergency Weather Radio — follow news and weather if cell coverage and the net go down.


LifeStraw Mission Water Purification System — easily disinfect lots of dirty water.

WaterBrick 2 or 10 pack — store lots of water under your bed.
55 gallon water barrel — store in garage.


Mr. Heater Indoor-Safe Portable RV Radiant Heater — alternative heat source. Use safely!

Smart stuff

Wooden Matches or a reliable lighter.

Ultimate Lithium AA and AAA batteries — lithium last longest.

Gregory Mountain Women's backpack and Men's backpack — in case you need to get out of town.

Real maps — If you need to evacuate, Google maps may be down.

Clorox Concentrated Regular Bleach — to clean up when there's not much water; and can disinfect water.

GLAD 30-Gallon Trash Bags — serves all kinds of sanitation needs.

Epic Wipes, massive wet wipes shower substitute — almost as good as a shower.

31 essential disaster supplies for the new family


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Advice for the family in the 'burbs

  • Take $1,000 to $3,000 out of the bank. Stash it someplace safe.

  • Consider your water needs — for cooking, drinking, cleaning and bathing. Fill up those WaterBricks you bought, and stash them under the bed. Consider buying extra water jugs, too.

  • Talk to your family and make an emergency plan. Don't count on cell systems or e-mail working. Make a plan that takes in account the idea that communications may be down.

  • Decide who picks up the kids from daycare of school if an emergency happens and communications go down.

  • Figure out where you would evacuate to in a) your own neighborhood if you can't get back home; b) a nearby city, town, or shelter outside of your immediate area; c) another state or geographical area.

  • Can you drive yourself or otherwise get out of town in case of an evacuation? Decide on a meeting point with family if an immediate evacuation is necessary.

  • Discuss emergency plans with neighbors and friends who live nearby. There is strength in numbers in times of need.

  • Medications! Talk to your doctor and ask for an emergency supply of necessary meds before something happens. You may have to pay out of pocket for extra meds. But your doctor and your regular pharmacy may be unavailable after an emergency.

  • Pack the go bags that you purchased. Put essentials inside. Take a look at our go bag section.

  • Write down or photocopy your family contact numbers and addresses; doctor's contact info; your insurance info, etc. Your cell may lose power or become lost, so backup info is essential. Put it in a waterproof bag.

  • Do you have a pet? Consider that you may also have to evacuate your furry family, too. Consult our Pet guide here.


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