Emergency Preparedness: How to Prepare for Disasters

Navigating the world of emergency preparedness can be an intimidating task. Every site you visit, every video you watch, every list you read will have a different opinion on what you should do to best prepare yourself and your family for the worst. We’ve run into this same problem numerous times. Scrolling through article after article can get overwhelming, and it will probably deter you from starting in the first place. We don’t blame you; we’ve done it too. We’ve come to realize the best way to avoid the problem of information overload is to take action. When you take action, the learning will follow. The best form of learning comes through doing. Simply reading or hearing words will lead you to forget 80-90% of the material after two weeks. On the other hand, you’ll remember 90% of what you say and do after two weeks. The first step of preparing is to take the first step

After people realize they must take the first step, most still don’t know what direction to step and what foot to step with. Of course, we don’t have an easy answer to that. Everyone’s situation is different, and you must assess your own personal situation to determine what steps to take. That’s why we’ve provided you with a stay-at-home supply list and survival kit supply list to help you best satisfy your needs.

Our approach to emergency preparedness is based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In short, the Hierarchy of Needs is a theory that depicts the motivation behind human needs. Working from the bottom up in the diagram, our basic needs must be satisfied before we can move to psychological needs and self-fulfillment needs. This is how we prioritize our preparation. By starting at the base and moving up, we ensure that all of our basic needs are met so we don’t get ahead of ourselves. It’s great to have a top-secret off-the-grid bunker to retreat to, but if you don’t have food and water you might not even get there in the first place.

One thing to note is we don’t advise you to start prepping for a global crisis right from the get-go. Instead, focus on prepping for a closer-to-home situation you may encounter, such as losing power for 48 to 72 hours or dealing with a flood that occurs in your area. Once you prepare for that, you’ll have a feel for what your needs are based on your personal situation and can apply that to bigger scale emergency preparation. Not everyone will get past step 2 or 3, and that’s alright. It’s important to cater to your preparedness to your needs and comfort level.

Stage 1: Physiological needs

Stage 1 is the first step in your emergency preparedness plan, and it’s the most important step. It’s helpful to keep the rule of 3’s in mind: You can survive 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 hours without shelter (in extreme heat or cold), 3 days without drinkable water, and 3 weeks without food. Make sure you have:

Water

  • Three-day supply: One gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation.
  • After that, we recommend having enough water that will last for two weeks per person, then increase accordingly from there.
  • Consider different scenarios you may be in to help you plan for your water needs.
    • If you are staying put, you may need bigger water storage containers in your home.
    • If you are bugging out or evacuating, your water storage needs to be portable.
  • Don’t forget to make sure your water is safe to drink! Research ways to treat and purify contaminated water.

Food

  •  Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • After that, we recommend having enough food for one month, then three months, etc. 
  • Again, consider different scenarios you may be in to help you plan for your food needs.
    • If you are staying put, think about easy-to-store foods with long shelf lives such as canned foods, dehydrated milk, fruit, and vegetables, dried beans, pasta, and rice to name a few.
    • If you are bugging out or evacuating, your food needs to be portable.

Shelter

  • Ideally, you won’t have to leave your home in an emergency situation.
  • In that case, it’s best to start by making sure you have a way to heat your home in an emergency.
  • If you are bugging out or evacuating, there are a number of possibilities to ensure you have proper shelter:
    • Car
    • Tent
    • Emergency blanket to retain heat

By starting with your basic needs, if worse comes to worst, you’ll at least have the essentials you need to live. 

Stage 2: Safety needs

Stage 2 goes hand in hand with stage 1, and these first 2 stages should be the bare minimum that you prepare for. Stage 2 includes items for safety and security: 

  • First aid
  • Light & communication
  • Personal security
  • Survival tools
  • Hygiene & sanitation

Stage 3: Belongingness and love needs

Stage 3 moves from basic needs to psychological needs. Once you have your basic needs covered, it’s time to build out the community of people involved in your preparation. Of course, your family is the most important part of your plans. For a lot of us, our family is the reason we begin prepping in the first place. The key to building your community is trust. You want to have people close to you that you can trust, and it’s important to pick the right people for your network. At this stage, it’s important to create a plan with your loved ones in case of emergencies. 

Stage 4: Esteem needs

Stage 4 is where you start to expand on the needs you fulfilled during the previous steps. Everything you have planned for thus far will start to come together, and you’ll form a more cohesive plan to handle situations you may encounter. This is the stage where you feel confident you know what to do in times of trouble. Simply getting supplies in order isn’t enough. You’ll have systems set in place and will know how to execute if need be. Self-sufficiency is the goal here. Once you have the necessary supplies, you’ll start to consider growing your own food, collecting your own water, and generating your own power to allow you to live off the grid if need be. 

Stage 5: Self-actualization needs

Stage 5 involves the continuous learning that accompanies emergency preparedness. At this point, you’ll have your plan(s) set in place in case of an emergency. Gaining knowledge and mastering your skills will only prepare you more. This stage is a continual learning phase where you aim for personal growth and to be the most prepared you can be. Ideally, at this point, the majority of your prepping can handle a wide range of situations. The rule of redundancy is something else to consider at this level, where you have backup plans in case part of your original plan fails. Overall, this stage signifies the lifelong learning and honing of your skills in order to be fully prepared in any situation you encounter. 

Our goal is to help you become aware of your current situation. Once you’re aware, we want to help you get set up with your basic needs. A safe shelter for you and your family is critical for your survival and wellbeing. We view bugging out as a last resort. It’s more logical to shelter in place, provided that it’s safe for you to be there. You have a home-field advantage by staying in. Once you have a safe shelter, you can move onto ways to protect your family from outside threats. Of course, your preparedness is dictated by your own personal threat assessment. Learn more about bugging in vs. bugging out here. 

The products we offer aim to satisfy stage 1 and stage 2 needs as stated above. Your psychological and self-fulfillment needs are largely addressed by your own efforts. We don’t claim to be experts on those matters, and there are many resources out there that go into much more detail than what we can offer. There are differing opinions on the best way to prep, and it is largely dependent on your personal situation. However, we feel that thinking about emergency preparedness using our Hierarchy of Needs approach is straightforward and can be applied to most peoples’ situations.


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