Emergency Preparedness Checklist

I'm providing you with an emergency preparedness checklist for the home and the car. I'm big on preparedness, and I believe that your chances of success are improved if you're prepared.

In this case, we're talking about the unexpected.

Frugal living is one way to create and preserve wealth and resources. Being prepared for an emergency in many ways helps you protect what you have created, and it also focuses on your most valuable asset - you.

I was never a boy scout, but I always thought their motto "be prepared" was a good one. Can you imagine being in the woods and not having a flashlight, matches or a compass? Some people go through life quite like that, but you don't have to be one of them.

If you're not prepared, then life happens around you and to you, and you're less likely to be able to participate in a successful or helpful manner. Depending on the situation, this could be disastrous.

The lists below are each designed to be a generic emergency preparedness checklist. You may wish to modify them to fit your particular situation. I don't subscribe to the idea of "plan for the worse and hope for the best." I think that isn't a good idea.

My thinking is simply plan for what is reasonable to happen, not the worst case scenario. This requires you to make an assessment and be reasonable about your preparedness.

Tools and resources should focus on protecting what you cherish most - your life. Next, focus resources on protection of your assets, and sustaining your health and comfort.

Be reasonable and logical. Don't go overboard with respect to quantities. Be frugal with respect to what you assemble for emergencies - make it provide good return on investment.

Emergency Preparedness Checklist - around the house

I suggest you be prepared to stay at your home for about 1 week if you live in a metropolitan area, and 2 weeks if you live in a remote area. Metropolitan areas will have more services to offer and there will be more people to help one another. Out in "the sticks" you might be waiting quite a while for help.

The type of emergencies that this checklist of supplies will prepare you for include: snowstorms, floods, windstorms, utility outages, fires in the home, earthquakes and civil disturbances.

In addition to your own home-oriented emergency preparedness checklist, you'll probably want to have a designated safe area in the home where you can take refuge from flying glass and debris. It's also a good idea to have two escape routes in mind, and a meeting place for family members, just in case you have to leave your home because of fire or earthquake damage.

  • fire extinguisher (convenient to likely sources of ignition)

  • fist aid kit

  • necessary medications

  • food (canned, dried and frozen)

  • water

  • cash (in a combination safe)

  • supplemental heating appliance and fuel (propane, kerosene or wood)

  • battery operated radio

  • two flashlights and spare batteries

  • sleeping bag

  • space blanket

  • candles or oil lamp and fuel

  • matches and lighter

  • firearm and ammunition

  • cell phone with 12 volt charging unit for the car

  • engine driven generator and fuel

  • camp stove with fuel

Emergency Preparedness Checklist - in your car

This emergency preparedness checklist assumes that you might need to spend a day or so in your car. It is intended to help you be prepared for common breakdowns, being stranded in the snow, running out of gas, single vehicle accidents and unforeseen problems that you might experience on the road.

Again, use common sense with respect to quantities. A gallon of water per person is plenty - more if you're going to be traveling in a remote area that is hot and dry.

  • water

  • dried food (like crackers and nuts)

  • jumper cables

  • 12 volt air compressor

  • spare tire, jack and tools

  • tire repair kit (plug type)

  • sleeping bag (winter only)

  • blanket (winter only)

  • space blanket

  • necessary medications

  • flashlight

  • road flares or reflective triangles

  • cash (hidden or on your person)

  • extra vehicle key (on your person)

  • map

  • compass

  • candles

  • canned heat such as Sterno (winter only)

  • matches and lighter

  • cell phone with 12 volt charging unit for the car

  • basic set of hand tools

  • chewing gum and hard candy

  • pull top canned tuna, clams or sardines (in oil)

  • fire extinguisher

  • one quart of motor oil

  • 100 foot clothesline (to tie yourself off to the car if you need to exit in a blizzard)

  • mirror (for signaling)

A Word of Caution

Having an emergency preparedness checklist and a room full of supplies at your house is no reason to stick out a situation that will place your life or health at undue risk. Sometimes you have to cut and run.

The same holds true for travel in a car. Just because you have a trunk full of food and water, and plenty of cold weather gear, doesn't mean it's a good idea to travel when a blizzard is expected. People have died on interstate highways in the middle of metropolitan areas because they couldn't see to get out of their car and take shelter.

Preparedness is about being able to take care of yourself when the unexpected happens. It's not about placing yourself or remaining in a challenging situation, just because you can.

Summing Up

Any emergency preparedness checklist is a good starting point to make certain you have the ability to keep yourself safe, healthy and comfortable during unforeseen emergencies. That's what the checklists above are intended to be - a starting point.

Having emergency tools and supplies is all part of being more self-sufficient and acting in your best interest as a responsible individual.

Whether you start with one of my lists or you have an emergency preparedness checklist of your own, it's a good idea to maintain items fresh and in good working order. That means rotate whatever you keep as your emergency supplies.

It's also necessary that you be skilled in using the items you have set aside for emergencies. That means at least practice using them before you really need to. Having an alternate way to cook meals is nice, but if you don't know how to light the stove, it doesn't do you much good.

With an eye toward frugal living, don't go overboard with equipment, appliances and supplies. Create your own emergency preparedness checklist based on a reasonable assessment of what your needs might be.

Done with Emergency Preparedness Checklist, back to Frugal Tips

Done with Emergency Preparedness Checklist, back to Frugal

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.