First things first. This is not a prepper publication, and there are surely very authoritative authors out there who also have good advice for you for all sorts of scenarios. However, even if you’re not considering yourself a prepper, there are some good reasons why you should at least think about a state of emergency in your region and consult what your government might recommend you to do and what to keep in stock for such a situation – which will hopefully never occur.
Here’s our list and some pointers beyond that for things you should stock up at home to prepare for an emergency. If you want, you can turn it into a checklist as well or simply print out the article for personal use. Kindly note that this list focuses on remaining at home throughout the emergency and is not a pack list for a bug-out bag (BOB), which is prepared to leave your home with some basic things to survive in the wild.
List of things to keep at home per adult for ten days during an emergency
It’s recommended to keep enough goods at home to survive up to ten days in the safety of your home. The precise data may vary from person to person, but on average, you should aim to consume 2,200 kcal per day and hydrate yourself with at least 1.5 liters of liquids. You don’t need to buy everything at once as well.
You can slowly begin to prepare by simply buying one more can of long-lasting food more than you need every time you go shopping for groceries. So what do you need to keep in stock? For each adult, you can consider the following items and volumes. Children should certainly also be considered, but their requirements vary depending on their age and body.
- 20 liters of water (1.5 liters to drink, 0.5 liters to cook food x 10 days)
- 3.5 kg of grain, bread, potatoes, noodles, or rice (a combination of these works too)
- 4 kg of vegetables and legumes (possibly in jars or cans for extended shelf life)
- 2.5 kg of fruits and nuts (possibly in jars or cans for extended shelf life)
- 2.6 kg of milk or dairy products
- 1.5 kg of fish, meat, eggs, or whole egg powder
- 0.357 kg of fat or oil
- Plus other miscellaneous food such as sugar, honey, jam, chocolate, peanut butter, salt, instant food in cans, instant noodles, cocoa, hard biscuits, pretzel sticks, juice, tea, coffee, or other preferred meals and snacks
Update 23rd of November, 2021: In addition to this, we also received feedback from one of the readers who recommended stocking up even more water for hygiene and filters for other uses, if it’s possible for you.
It's a good starter kit, one of the better I've seen. It just needs more water. Another 8 liters per day for hygiene.
— Dr. Chris Ellis (@Prep4Disasters) November 21, 2021
While the food checklist is relatively easy to calculate, the lists below require you to carefully think about what sort of volume you need from each item or if you maybe don’t need any at all for some reason. Not all of these are a survival requirement either, but for completeness’ sake, it’s better to have them included in a checklist rather than not. If you can’t be bothered to do all of that yourself, you can also just buy survival kits with rations that have the right amount of nutrients for an adult.
- First-aid kit
- Prescribed medicine
- Skin disinfectant
- Wound disinfectant
- Flu medicine
- Fever medicine
- Clinical thermometer
- Diarrhea medicine
- Sunscreen and medicine for insect bites
- Pair of tweezers
- Soap and detergent
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Disposable plates and cutlery
- Paper towel
- Toilet paper
- Garbage bag
- Chemical toilet with replacement bags
- Rubber gloves
- Disinfectant or soft soap
Fire safety checklist
- Clear attic and basement
- Hand-held extinguisher
- Smoke alarm
- Water hose
- Container for water to extinguish fires
- Water bucket
- Stirrup pump
Power outage checklist
- Tea lights or candles
- Matches or lighter
- Camping stoves or alternatives for cooking plus storage of whatever you need to operate the stove (e. g. suitable gas cartridges)
- Something that keeps you warm (blankets, sleeping bag)
- Combustible material
- Radio (preferably crank-operated)
- Power banks (with a solar panel or crank-operated)
- Batteries and cables
- Can opener and other useful tools
- Work gloves and other protective gear
- “Dumbphone” with a long-lasting, charged-up battery and up to date phonebook
- Instructions for first aid practices
- Sewing kit
Test things before things get serious during an emergency
When getting emergency rations, food, water, and other things to stock up for a time when you’re unable to buy anything fresh, you should always do a test before you blindly trust the goods. You should generally test and try anything you want to use when you’re planning for an emergency. Just buy a trial set of the ration for a single meal and see if it’s okay. When purchasing food, keep in mind that the fridge might not be running if the power is out, so store things that don’t require to be cooled, just in case.
Also interesting: 5 Survival Mobile Games to Pass Time
Because this type of preparing yourself for a state of emergency is not done for a specified date on the calendar, you need to make sure to test any tools, gadgets, and equipment frequently. As far as food, liquids, and medicine go, you also need to make sure to regularly replace older goods with newer ones so that you’re fine with the date of expiry for everything.
You don’t want moldy things to eat when there’s an actual problem happening. Just consume the things that are about to expire and restock. In order to make sure that this doesn’t need to happen too often, it would be best to get goods with a very long shelf life to start with.
What about electricity?
If you need gadgets that require power, make sure to keep batteries in stock and ensure they are also replaced in case they expire or get damaged. Of course, it doesn’t mean that whatever situation might be happening would also mean a power outage. Still, if there is something you truly need to use and if it requires electricity, you might need to think beyond batteries and consider a power generator that you can run independently from the general power supply in your region. This is particularly relevant if you require medical equipment to run at home. If that’s the case, make sure to keep stock as well to run your generator as long as you need to.
What about pets? Most official lists include only required items and goods for the safety of people. But what about pets or livestock? When you’re planning out what you need to keep in storage, make sure to also factor in the food and water for any animals that are under your care.
About entertainment and important documents
While not a requirement to stay alive, entertainment never hurt anyone. If you’re able to stay in the safety of your own home during an emergency, it should be relatively easy to stay entertained. You can play games that don’t require electricity or read books if you’re running out of things to talk about or if you’re alone.
If you’re preparing to stay mobile with your emergency things, it would be wise to keep the gear as light as possible. Rather than carrying around books, you might want to skip entertainment, or if you have enough space, you could consider a Kindle ebook reader. The battery lasts incredibly long, and you can store a vast library of books or survival guides on the device too.
In case you’re leaving the safety of your own home because the circumstances force you out, it would be wise to keep copies of your essential documents with you in a protective sleeve. Keep copies of IDs, insurances, and other vital files in case you might need them later on.
These lists are based on the official recommendations from the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief of Germany (BBK). I found that the list is comprehensive, but I strongly suggest you also check with a similar office in your home region. Depending on where you’re living, there might be entirely different things that you should maybe not forget about. If you have the money and space, you can certainly also keep more stuff in stock, but these are the minimum things you should consider for survival. If you’re well integrated into a community of people you trust, you could also consider stocking up foods and goods together.
In addition to these checklists for emergencies above, you can also check out the informative videos below by Chris Thorn from Drop Forged Survival and Malcolm from the Survival Know How channel on YouTube. Both will share their experiences on the subject.
YouTube: 15 Survival Foods Every Prepper Should Stockpile before they Run Out – Food Shortage Preps
YouTube: 15 Items FEMA Wants You To Stockpile For Emergencies
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Svitlana. The photo showing food was taken by Yanadjan. The picture showing the first aid box was shot by RH2010. The image showing a person checking the fire extinguishers was prepared by Eakrin. The image with the tools and gadgets has been done by Artur Lans.