Prepper & Emergency Survival: A Comprehensive Checklist

end of the world post apocalyptic scene with car and barren wasteland

In today’s uncertain world, it’s increasingly important for us to be prepared for any type of emergency or disaster that may strike.

The Ultimate Prepper & Emergency Survival Checklist is designed to guide us through the process of becoming self-reliant and ready in the face of adversity.

By following this checklist, we can ensure that we’re covering all the bases when it comes to food, water, shelter, security, and other essential survival items.

As we begin our journey toward preparedness, it’s crucial to remember that there are several situational considerations and factors to take into account.

This is not a one-size-fits-all list, but rather a comprehensive starting point that can be tailored to our unique needs and circumstances.

It’s important to evaluate our specific risks and location, as well as our individual skills and resources when building our emergency plan and survival kit.

The ultimate goal of our prepping efforts is to ensure the safety and well-being of our loved ones and ourselves in the event of a crisis.

By being proactive and thorough in our preparations, we can approach uncertain times with a greater sense of confidence, knowing that we have done our best to be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.

Why Prepare for Emergencies

As responsible individuals, it’s essential for us to be prepared for emergencies and unexpected events. There are several reasons that highlight the importance of preparation:

Firstly, natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods, occur more frequently than we might think.

When such events transpire, they can lead to widespread power outages, water shortages, and limited access to necessities like food and medical supplies.

Being prepared in advance can ensure our self-sufficiency and safety during these critical times.

Secondly, personal emergencies, like job loss, illness, or accidents, can create financial and emotional hardships.

Having a solid financial and material plan in place can lessen the impact of these setbacks, allowing us to better navigate challenging circumstances.

Next, being aware of our individual risks and being proactive about disaster preparedness can significantly improve our chances of survival in the event of an emergency.

Taking the time to learn about the potential hazards in our area and creating an emergency plan can greatly reduce feelings of fear and anxiety.

Lastly, by being prepared, we can become valuable resources to our families, friends, and communities during times of crisis.

Our preparedness not only benefits us but also increases the resilience of our community as a whole.

Water and Food Storage

Water Storage Essentials

Water is a critical resource for any emergency preparedness plan. We suggest prioritizing water storage by following these guidelines:

  • Store at least one gallon of water per person per day. This amount should cover both drinking and sanitation needs.
  • Keep a minimum of a three-day supply of water for each person in your household (this is a starting point).
  • Opt for food-grade water storage containers and sanitize them before use.
  • Rotate your stored water every six months to ensure freshness.

It’s important to consider water treatment methods in case the stored supply runs out or becomes contaminated:

  • Boiling: Boil the water for at least one minute to kill pathogens.
  • Chlorination: Use household bleach to disinfect the water, following proper instructions.
  • Water filters: Employ a high-quality water filter designed to remove contaminants and pathogens.

Long-Term Food Storage

When it comes to food storage, we recommend focusing on nutritional value and shelf life. Here are some essentials to include in a long-term food storage plan:

Food CategoryExamples
ProteinCanned meats, jerky, dried beans, nuts
CarbohydratesRice, pasta, oats, cereal, grains
Fruits & VegetablesCanned, freeze-dried, or dehydrated fruits and vegetables
FatsCoconut oil, olive oil, peanut butter, lard
Vitamins & MineralsSupplements, multivitamins, nutrient-packed foods

By incorporating a mix of homegrown, preserved, and store-bought items, you can diversify and extend your food supply.

Consider adding comfort foods, such as chocolate or favorite snacks, to maintain morale during emergencies.

Proper storage methods, like vacuum sealing and using airtight containers, can prolong food shelf life.

Keep an inventory and rotate your stock to ensure your supplies remain fresh and viable for consumption.

Medical and First Aid Supplies

As preppers and survivalists, we understand the importance of being prepared for any situation, especially when it comes to medical and first aid supplies.

In this section, we will discuss the essential items needed in a well-stocked first aid kit and the necessary medications for various emergencies.

First Aid Kits

A comprehensive first aid kit is crucial in any survival situation.

While store-bought kits can be a good starting point, it is essential to customize your kit to address the specific needs of your group.

Here are some items to include in your ultimate prepper first aid kit:

  • Adhesive bandages in various sizes
  • Sterile gauze pads and rolls
  • Antiseptic wipes and ointments
  • Medical tape, moleskin, and liquid stitch
  • Elastic bandages for sprains and strains
  • Triangle bandages for making slings
  • Tweezers, scissors, and a small flashlight
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen for pain relief
  • Digital thermometer, emergency blanket, and a first aid manual

Additionally, consider a complete trauma first aid kit…you can either buy one or build one.

It provides a comprehensive set of supplies at an affordable price point, making it a valuable addition to your prepper first aid inventory.

Essential Medications

Besides the standard first aid kit items, it is crucial to stock up on essential medications that cover a wide range of potential medical concerns.

Here are some critical medications to include in your inventory:

Antibiotics, such as Amoxicillin or CiprofloxacinBacterial infections
Antihistamines, like BenadrylAllergic reactions, insect bites, hay fever
Hydrocortisone creamSkin conditions, itchiness, inflammation
Anti-diarrheal medication, such as ImodiumDiarrhea, gastrointestinal issues
Epinephrine auto-injectorAnaphylaxis and severe allergic reactions

Don’t forget to stock the medications relevant to your personal medical needs or those of your family members.

Be mindful of expiration dates and update your stock regularly to ensure maximum effectiveness during an emergency.

Shelter and Clothing

In an emergency situation, having proper shelter and clothing is essential for survival.

It’s important for us to have a plan in place to protect ourselves from harsh weather conditions and maintain our body heat.

In this section, we’ll discuss emergency shelters and choosing the appropriate clothing for various situations.

Emergency Shelters

Having access to an emergency shelter can be a lifesaver. There are a few options to consider, depending on the situation:

  • Tents: Lightweight and portable, tents can provide temporary shelter in most climates. It’s important for us to have a durable, waterproof tent in our emergency stash.
  • Tarps and Bivvies: These versatile items can be used to create emergency shelters in a pinch. Tarps can be set up to provide cover from rain, wind, or sun, while bivvies are compact, lightweight shelters that also retain body heat.
  • Emergency Blankets: These lightweight, compact blankets are designed to reflect body heat and can be used in conjunction with other shelters or on their own in a survival situation.

Appropriate Clothing for Various Conditions

Equally important as shelter, having the right clothing can make a significant difference in our survival.

Here are some considerations for choosing and packing clothes for emergencies:

  1. Layering: Layering is key in remaining comfortable and protected in various weather conditions. We should always have a moisture-wicking base layer, insulating layers, and a waterproof, breathable outer layer to stay warm and dry.
  2. Material: Opt for high-quality, moisture-wicking fabrics like wool and polyester to maintain warmth and manage moisture effectively. Avoid cotton, as it loses its insulating properties when wet.
  3. Footwear: Ensure we have a sturdy, waterproof pair of boots that offer good traction and support. Pair these with moisture-wicking socks for added comfort and warmth.
  4. Accessories: Don’t forget about hats, gloves, and scarves to protect our extremities and prevent heat loss. Waterproof or water-resistant accessories are a bonus, especially in wet conditions.

By ensuring we have appropriate emergency shelters and clothing prepared in advance, we’ll be better equipped to handle various situations and increase our chances of staying safe and comfortable during a crisis.

Communication and Signals

In any emergency situation, communication is a critical aspect to ensure safety and be well-prepared.

Here, we will discuss emergency radios and signaling devices that every prepper must consider including in their survival checklist.

Emergency Radios

Having access to reliable communication channels during an emergency can be a game-changer.

We recommend investing in a good quality emergency radio that covers a range of frequencies.

This will enable you to receive important updates from the authorities and maintain communication with other preppers.

  • Ham or Amateur Radio: With its access to various frequencies, increased power output, and the ability to use homemade equipment, ham radio remains the ultimate option for prepper communications. To operate one, you would need a license from the FCC.
  • Shortwave Radio: Capable of transmitting signals over long distances, shortwave radios can be crucial for receiving valuable international news and updates during a crisis.
  • GMRS/FRS Radios: General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS) radios are convenient options for local communication. Keep in mind, GMRS requires an FCC license, while FRS does not.

Signaling Devices

When traditional communication channels fail or when you need to signal for help, having a variety of signaling devices can make all the difference.

These devices should be compact, lightweight, and durable.

  • Whistle: A simple yet effective way to grab attention or communicate with nearby people. Choose one made of durable material like stainless steel or aluminum.
  • Signal Mirror: Reflecting sunlight can create a bright signal for rescue teams or other preppers to notice. Practice using a signal mirror beforehand to improve dexterity and effectiveness.
  • Flares: Perfect for signaling at night or during low visibility, flares can be spotted from a significant distance. Make sure to store them safely and check expiration dates regularly.
  • Glow Sticks/Chemlights: Inexpensive and long-lasting, glow sticks can be used as portable light sources and signaling devices. Choose chemlights for better quality and longer-lasting illumination.

As you build your ultimate prepper and emergency survival checklist, remember that dependable communication and signaling tools are vital components.

Invest in high-quality equipment and familiarize yourself with their use to stay connected and safe during any crisis.

Tools and Equipment

In this section, we’ll discuss essential tools and equipment that every prepper should have in their survival kit.

To help you better prepare for emergency situations, we’ll focus on multipurpose tools and portable power supplies.

Multipurpose Tools

Having versatile and reliable multipurpose tools can make a significant difference in a survival situation. Here are some highly recommended multipurpose tools:

  • Swiss Army Knife: A compact and versatile tool that typically includes a blade, scissors, tweezers, screwdriver, and can opener.
  • Leatherman Multi-Tool: A popular choice among preppers, offering various tools such as pliers, wire cutters, a serrated knife, scissors, and a bit driver.
  • Wearable gear: Any wearable piece of essential survival gear, featuring tools that can be used for various purposes.

Portable Power Supplies

When emergencies strike, power outages are often inevitable. To stay connected and preserve crucial electronic equipment, consider these portable power supply options:

Power SupplyDescription
Solar ChargerA lightweight and eco-friendly option, solar chargers can power smartphones, tablets, and other small electronic devices using sunlight.
Portable Power BankCompact and easy to carry, power banks store electrical energy and can recharge a wide range of devices. Opt for one with a higher mAh capacity for longer-lasting power.
Portable GeneratorWhile they can be bulkier and require fuel, portable generators provide a more reliable, higher-capacity power source, suitable for running appliances and tools.

Preparing for emergencies and disasters involves having the right tools and equipment readily available.

From multipurpose necessities to power supply solutions, our recommendations cover the essentials for an effective prepper and emergency survival kit.

Personal Protection and Self-Defense

armed man in post apocalyptic scene

In preparing for emergencies and various survival scenarios, one crucial aspect to consider is personal protection and self-defense.

Ensuring your safety and that of your loved ones is critical in any situation.

In this section, we will discuss two essential tools to have in your prepper and emergency survival checklist: pepper sprays and personal alarms.

Pepper Sprays

One of the most effective and non-lethal self-defense items you can carry is pepper spray.

When used correctly, it can temporarily disable an attacker by causing severe eye, respiratory, and skin irritations.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right pepper spray:

  • Range: Make sure the spray has an adequate range, ideally between 10 to 15 feet.
  • Size and portability: Pepper sprays come in various sizes, so choose one that’s easy to carry and accessible when needed.
  • Strength: Look for a high OC (oleoresin capsicum) concentration to ensure maximum effectiveness.
  • Safety features: Select a spray with a safety lock or cap to prevent accidental discharge.

Personal Alarms

Another vital self-defense tool is a personal alarm, which emits a loud siren when activated to draw attention and potentially deter attackers.

These devices are small, easy to carry, and can be attached to keychains or bags. Here are some tips for selecting a personal alarm:

  • Loudness: Look for alarms with a minimum sound level of 120 decibels to ensure they can be heard from a distance.
  • Lightweight and compact: Choose a device that is small and easy to carry, so you have it accessible when needed.
  • Battery life: Opt for a personal alarm with a long battery life or replaceable batteries to avoid the risk of it failing during an emergency.
  • Attachment options: Consider devices with multiple attachment options, such as clips or keyrings, for added convenience.

Personal Defense Weapons

In addition to pepper sprays and personal alarms, personal defense weapons can also be effective tools for self-defense in emergency and survival situations.

Here are some popular options to consider:

  • Tactical Pens: These are ordinary-looking pens that double as a self-defense tool. They are made of durable materials, such as aircraft-grade aluminum, and have pointed tips that can be used to strike an attacker’s vulnerable areas.
  • Knives: A knife can be a useful tool for self-defense, but it requires proper training and skill to use effectively. Choose a sturdy and reliable knife with a non-slip grip and a blade length that is legal in your area.
  • Tactical Flashlights: A high-powered flashlight can be used to temporarily blind an attacker, giving you time to escape or strike back. Look for a flashlight with a strobe function and a durable construction.
  • Tasers and Stun Guns: These are non-lethal weapons that use electrical shock to incapacitate an attacker. They are effective but require proper training and may not be legal in all areas.
  • Firearms: Firearms can be an effective tool for self-defense, but make sure you you obtain proper training to be effective. Consider factors such as type, caliber, size, and recoil when choosing a firearm.

By incorporating these items into your emergency survival checklist, you enhance your ability to protect yourself and your loved ones during a crisis.

Remember, personal protection and self-defense are essential components of any well-rounded preparedness plan.

Transportation and Evacuation

broken down truck

Vehicle Preparedness

In order to ensure our safety during an emergency or disaster, it is crucial to have our vehicles prepared for evacuation.

This includes regular maintenance, such as oil changes, tire rotations, and inspections to guarantee reliability during a crisis.

Additionally, we should always have a well-stocked emergency kit in the vehicle containing items like:

  • Jumper cables
  • Tire inflator and sealer
  • Car jack and lug wrench
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Blankets or emergency thermal blankets
  • Non-perishable food and water
  • Maps or a GPS device
  • Extra phone charger or portable power bank

It is also a good practice to keep our vehicles’ gas tanks at least half full, so we can immediately hit the road in case of an emergency.

Evacuation Plans

Having a well-thought-out emergency evacuation plan is essential for our safety and that of our loved ones.

This plan should consider the following aspects:

  1. Prioritize. Identify the most important people, pets, and items we will need to take with us during an evacuation.
  2. Transportation. Ensure all family members know where the car keys are and how to safely operate the vehicle during an emergency.
  3. Destination. Choose multiple meeting points or destinations in different directions, taking into account the possible types of disasters that could require evacuation.
  4. Communication. Create an emergency contact list of family, friends, and local authorities who can offer assistance or information during an evacuation.
  5. Routes. Identify and familiarize ourselves with multiple evacuation routes, and take note of any potential hazards or obstacles that could slow our progress.
  6. Supplies. Prepare an emergency “go-bag” for each family member containing essential items such as clothing, medication, documents, and toiletries.

It is crucial to review and practice our emergency evacuation plan regularly, ensuring that everyone in our household is familiar with the procedures and their roles in the process.

Important Documents and Finances

Document Storage

As preppers, we understand the importance of keeping our essential documents organized and secure.

Having an emergency binder with important information and paperwork is essential during times of crisis.

This binder should be easy to access and should contain critical documents such as:

  • Identification documents (birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses)
  • Medical records (prescriptions, allergy information, doctor contact information)
  • Insurance policies (home, auto, life, health)
  • Financial records (bank statements, investment details, debt records)
  • Property records (titles, deeds, rent or mortgage agreements)
  • Emergency contacts (family, friends, local and out-of-town contacts)
  • Maps and evacuation plans

While keeping physical copies is important, we also recommend scanning and storing digital copies in a secure and accessible place, like an encrypted USB drive or a password-protected cloud storage service.

Emergency Funds

In order to be well-prepared for any emergency or disaster, having an emergency fund is crucial.

Financial planning plays an important role in ensuring we can continue to support ourselves during challenging times.

To create a monthly budget and determine the right amount for an emergency fund, we recommend the following steps:

  1. List your monthly income (taxed)
  2. Compile itemized expenses (credit card and checking account records should provide this information)
  3. Categorize and list your expenses under each category
  4. Create a target amount for your emergency fund by calculating your total monthly expenses

Typically, an emergency fund should cover at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

By setting aside this money in a separate savings account, we ensure that we have the financial resources needed in case of an emergency, such as job loss, medical expenses, or unexpected home repairs.

Building a Community Network

group of preppers

When it comes to emergency preparedness, one of the key factors for success is building a strong community network.

In times of crisis, we need to rely on each other for support, resources, and skills. This section will outline the importance of building a community network and provide some tips on how to get started.

First and foremost, a well-established network provides us with a higher probability of survival during a disaster.

By pooling our resources and skills, our community becomes more resilient and can withstand unprecedented situations.

Working together also allows us to develop emergency response plans, which in turn help prevent issues arising from marauders or the spread of disease.

Developing a survival group is an essential aspect of community networking.

Ideally, our survival team should consist of 4-7 physically fit adults who are mentally tough and possess valuable skills like hunting, gardening, or medical expertise (these are just examples).

The diverse range of talents within our group ensures that we’re equipped to handle various challenges that may arise during a disaster.

So, how can you start building your community network? Here are some ideas:

  • Identify like-minded individuals in your neighborhood who share your prepping mindset and are willing to collaborate during a crisis.
  • Hold regular meetings to discuss preparedness plans, share knowledge, and collaborate on training exercises.
  • Establish a communication system, such as a network of walkie-talkies or ham radios, for staying connected during disasters.
  • Create a resource inventory that lists tools, supplies, and skills within our community, so we know who can contribute what in times of need.

The stronger your community network, the more prepared you’ll be to face and overcome any emergency situation.

By proactively reaching out to your neighbors, friends, and fellow preppers, you can create a support system that maximizes your chances of survival during a crisis.

Remember, it’s not just about your individual preparedness; it’s about the strength of our community as a whole.

Regular Maintenance and Updates

As part of a comprehensive prepper and emergency survival plan, it’s essential for us to perform regular maintenance and updates on our inventory and skills.

Ensuring that our equipment is in good working condition and that our knowledge is up to date will help you be better prepared when emergencies strike.

One of the first things we should do is inspect our emergency kits periodically. C

hecking for expired items, such as food, water, and medications, and replacing them with fresh supplies is crucial.

This ensures that we have safe and effective resources available when we need them most.

Besides the physical resources, we also need to keep our skills honed.

Continuously updating our knowledge on first aid, foraging, hunting, and other survival techniques should be made a priority.

Participating in workshops, online courses, or local groups can help us maintain and improve our abilities.

Another essential aspect of regular maintenance involves staying informed about potential risks and hazards.

This includes monitoring weather alerts, local news, and other sources of information that could impact our preparedness plans.

Keeping an eye on these factors will help us better predict and adapt to changing conditions.

Lastly, it’s important that we maintain our communication equipment, such as radios and satellite phones.

This ensures that we can stay connected with family, friends, and other support networks during an emergency.

Regularly testing our devices and updating them as needed will help guarantee that we’re able to communicate effectively under any circumstances.


We understand that as a prepper, you might have some frequently asked questions about these types of checklists.

In this section, we address a few of those questions to help you better prepare for any emergency or disaster situation.

What are the most important items to have in an emergency preparedness kit?

In our opinion, the most crucial items to have at your disposal include water (ideally one gallon per person per day), non-perishable food, a flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit, a multi-tool, a portable radio, and personal hygiene items. Additionally, having copies of vital documents and a basic communication plan is essential.

How do I prioritize my prepping efforts?

Start by assessing your current situation and identifying the most likely emergency scenarios for your area. You can then focus on acquiring the necessary supplies, skills, and planning to meet the demands of those specific situations. It’s also essential to regularly revise and update your prepping strategies to account for any changes in your personal life or in potential threats.

Is it okay to rely solely on government or community resources during an emergency?

While government and community resources can provide assistance during a crisis, they may not always be immediately available or sufficient to meet your needs. That’s why it’s important to be as self-sufficient as possible by being well-prepared and having your own supplies.

How much food and water should I store for an emergency?

It’s generally recommended to keep at least a two-week supply (this is a starting point) of non-perishable food and one gallon of water per person per day. However, you might want to consider storing more depending on your location, access to resources, and potential risks in your area.


In today’s unpredictable world, it’s essential for us to be prepared for any emergency that might arise.

Our checklist serves as a guide to help us gather necessary supplies, develop crucial skills, and establish effective plans for various scenarios.

From natural disasters to financial crises, this framework ensures we can protect ourselves, our families, and our communities in the face of adversity.

By systematically covering aspects such as food storage, water purification, emergency shelter, first aid, communication, personal protection, and other essentials, we can reduce the risks and uncertainties that come with unforeseen events.

Moreover, staying informed and continuously updating our knowledge base allows us to make better decisions and adapt to changing circumstances.

In summary, preparedness is at the core of our ability to survive and thrive in an uncertain world.

By implementing the strategies and recommendations outlined in this checklist, we can effectively prepare ourselves for any situation that we may encounter.

Let’s take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of ourselves and those around us, for today and the future.

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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