People will claim that being prepared for a disaster is fear based

But in reality is is anything but. Disasters can happen anywhere and at anytime. Ask the victims of Katrina, Hurricane Sandy or all of those displaced by wildfires. Some of them only had minutes to evacuate their homes.

Here in Southern California we are at great risk of earthquakes, wildfires, flooding and landslides. The illusion is that since nothing bad has happened recently, so nothing ever will. Or if it does, then we just have to call 911 and emergency services will take care of whatever we need. This is actually a fallacy. The reality is that the Los Angeles Fire Department only has 3000 firefighters for 9 million+ people and only 1000 of them are on shift at one time. This means that in the event of a major earthquake, for which we are now 150 years overdue for, people are going to be on their own for an indeterminate period of time.

I understand that people can feel overwhelmed with putting together an emergency kit and don’t know where to start. So I have compiled three lists for those who wish to prepare. But if your resources are limited, the easiest and most stress-free way to prepare is to check the list and when you are out shopping, buy one extra thing at a time. One extra can of food. One extra set of bandages. Soon you will have built your emergency kit. The lists below will also be continuously updated as time allows.

But to be sufficiently prepared for a disaster or needing to evacuate, the following is what is recommended by all emergency organizations. Everyone should have, at the minimum, 3 days of these supplies in a backpack ready to go.


  • WATER: 3-10 days. This is your most vital resource. Even more than food
  • FOOD: 3-10 days. This includes your pets!
  • FIRST AID KIT: (And how to use it)
  • FLASHLIGHT AND EXTRA BATTERIES: Keep this under your bed along with a good pair of shoes
  • FIRE EXTINGUISHER: Critical item. And know how to use it.
  • RADIO: Ideally one with a hand crank and has NOAA frequencies on it for emergency information
  • MEDICATIONS: For everyone in the household and for the time period you are preparing for
  • CASH AND IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS: This includes out of state contacts written down, insurance and bank information and cash in small bills.
  • PHYSICAL MAP: Know your area and how to navigate it without your cell phone.
  • CLOTHING: You’ll only need one set, but you’ll be grateful you had it.
  • TOOLS: A fire extinguisher (and how to use it) is critical along with items like duct tape, a wrench to turn off your gas, a whistle (in case you’re trapped) and sturdy gloves.
  • SANITATION: In an emergency situation water and sewer (and other utilities) may be out. You will have to take care of all of those needs on your own.


  • TWO WAY FRS/GMRS  RADIOS: If communications are out (which is likely) you will be able to communicate amongst family members and your community.
  • WATER FILTRATION: Water goes bad quickly so have a way to either filter or purify your water
  • TENT/SLEEPING BAG: If you need to evacuate your home, you’ll probably want something to sleep in.
  • CAMP STOVE/GEAR/FUEL: Most have these, but if you don’t, well….
  • EMERGENCY POWER: Solar and/or generators. I recommend solar. It’s quiet, cheaper and runs indefinitely.


This is the recommended list. It will provide you with everything you will need for a two week period, which is the length of time both the Fire Department and the Red Cross advise. The list is more extensive, so just go to the page and determine your needs.

Just what it says. If you really want to be serious there is stuff on here that you can produce your own free water with. This is also an extensive list and will be the most updated list of any. Keep checking back for recommendations.