Emergency Preps from A to Z

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by Ashley Allen Reade

Emergency preparedness is serious business but not all of our endeavors need to take on the gravity of life and death. This is a fun list, and while the suggestions are solid, it is by no means a list that covers everything you need to be prepared.

Without further ado, here’s an alphabetical list of preps that could serve you well.

Emergency Preps from A-Z

I’ve chosen one prep for each letter of the alphabet to help you get ready for disasters large or small.

A – Alcohol-based hand sanitizer: It’s important to have hand sanitizer on hand in case you don’t have access to soap and water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can help reduce the spread of germs and bacteria. Not a fan of hand sanitizer and prefer a natural approach? Here’s an article that explains when to use what kind of product.

B – Battery-powered radio: In the event of a power outage, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio can be a vital source of information. It can help you stay updated on weather forecasts, evacuation orders, and other important alerts. We recommend this one.

C – Cash: In an emergency, ATMs and credit card machines may not be available, so it’s important to have a supply of cash on hand. This can be used to purchase necessary supplies or pay for evacuation expenses. Put back small bills. You may not be able to get change during a crisis.

D – Drinking water: It’s important to have a supply of clean drinking water in case the water supply is disrupted or contaminated. Consider storing bottled water, or filling up jugs or other containers with tap water in case of an emergency. Here’s an article on water storage.

E – Emergency contact list: Having a list of emergency contacts can be invaluable in an emergency situation. This should include phone numbers for family members, friends, neighbors, and any relevant agencies or organizations. This is an important part of an emergency binder. Get a printable template here.

F – Fire extinguisher: A fire extinguisher can be a crucial tool for putting out small fires or containing them until the fire department arrives. It’s important to have one on hand in case of a fire emergency. Here’s an article on choosing and maintaining your fire extinguishers.

G – Generator: A generator can provide a reliable source of power in the event of a power outage. This can be especially important for those who rely on electricity for medical equipment or other essential needs. Daisy has this one for her apartment, and here’s some advice on choosing a larger one.

H – Hazardous materials kit: In the event of a chemical spill or other hazardous materials incident, it’s important to have a hazardous materials kit on hand. This should include protective gear, such as gloves and respirators, as well as supplies for cleaning up and neutralizing the hazard.

I – Insurance documents: In the event of a natural disaster or other emergencies, it’s important to have copies of your insurance documents on hand. This can help you quickly file a claim and get the financial assistance you need to recover. This printable helps you create a home inventory for insurance purposes.

J – Jacket: A warm jacket can be essential in an emergency situation, especially if you are evacuated to a location with a different climate than you are used to. It’s important to have a jacket that is appropriate for the weather in your area, as well as any locations you may need to evacuate to.

K – Knife: A knife can be a useful tool in a variety of emergency situations, including cutting through debris, opening cans, and preparing food. It’s important to have a reliable and durable knife on hand in case you need it. Here’s some advice on choosing a knife.

L – Light source: In the event of a power outage, a light source can be essential for navigating your home and performing tasks. This can include flashlights, candles, or a headlamp. This article discusses different types of emergency lighting.

M – Medical supplies: A basic first aid kit should be part of your emergency preparedness kit. This should include supplies like bandages, gauze, and pain medication, as well as any prescription medications you or your family members may need. Check out this article about OTC medications and medical supplies.

N – Non-perishable food: It’s important to have a supply of non-perishable food, such as canned goods, dried fruits and nuts, and protein bars, in case you don’t have access to fresh food. These items will keep for a long time without refrigeration and can help sustain you in an emergency situation. Here’s some advice on building your prepper food supply.

O – Oxygen tanks: If you or a family member relies on oxygen tanks for medical purposes, it’s important to have a supply of tanks on hand in case of an emergency.

P – Pet supplies: If you have pets, it’s important to include them in your emergency. Here’s a printable checklist.

Q – Quick clotting products: Quick clotting powder is a highly effective bleeding control agent that helps to stop bleeding within minutes of application. It is made from a clay-like substance that is applied directly to the wound, where it absorbs excess blood and helps to form a clot. This can be a lifesaving tool in situations where traditional methods of bleeding control, such as applying pressure to the wound, are not enough. Here’s a source of Quik Clot gauze and Celox powder.

R – Respirator mask: In the event of a natural disaster or other emergency situation, it’s possible that the air quality may be compromised. A respirator mask can help protect you from inhaling harmful particles and contaminants in the air. Here’s our guide to respirators and masks.

S – Smoke detector: A smoke detector is a vital component of any emergency preparedness plan. It can alert you to the presence of fire in your home, giving you the opportunity to evacuate or take other safety measures. Be sure to test your smoke detectors regularly and replace the batteries as needed.

T – Tent: A tent is an important item to have in an emergency because it can provide shelter in case you need to evacuate your home or if you are caught in an unexpected outdoor situation. A tent can protect you from the elements and provide a sense of security. Here are the pros and cons of bugging out with a tent.

U – USB charger: In an emergency, it’s important to have a way to charge your phone or other electronic devices. A USB charger can be a lifesaver, especially if you need to use your phone to call for help or stay in touch with loved ones. This portable charger has fantastic reviews on Amazon and is very reliable.

V – Vaseline: Vaseline is a versatile product that can be used in a variety of emergency situations. It can be used to protect and moisturize skin, as well as to seal small cuts and scratches. In a survival situation, Vaseline can also be used as a fire starter or to lubricate gear.

W – Water filter: A water filter is essential in an emergency because it can allow you to access clean drinking water if your regular source is compromised. There are many different types of water filters available, including straw filters, gravity filters, and pump filters. Choose one that is appropriate for the situation you may face. We recommend a gravity-fed water filter for home use and a Sawyer Mini or Lifestraw when you’re on the go.

X – X-Acto knife: An X-Acto knife is a precise cutting tool that can be used to cut through a variety of materials, including paper, fabric, and plastic. It can be especially useful in an emergency if you need to cut through small items or make precise cuts.

Y – Y: Yellow rubber cleaning gloves – You know the kind – your mother and grandmother swore by them to protect their hands when doing dishes. Yellow rubber gloves can be worn when handling hazardous materials, cleaning up after an emergency, or handling human waste.

Z – Ziptop bags: Ziptop bags are a useful item to have in an emergency because they can be used to store and protect a variety of items. They are great for organizing supplies and keeping them dry, and they can also be used to store food or other perishable items.

Your turn!

Pick a letter (maybe the first letter of your username?) and give us some prepping suggestions for that letter. Let’s have some fun with this in the comments!

About Ashley

Ashley Allen Reade is part of a prepping family. She has spent her entire adult life getting prepared for one event or another. She enjoys traveling, gardening, and decorating.

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  • This is hardly a “prepping” list. Most of this is an “everyday” living list.
    If you need a list for the things that you should have on hand as a normal part of living, then you will be a gigantic fail at prepping for SHTF.

    • Thank you for your warm welcome to our newest member of the OP team. *rolls eyes.*

      Not everyone is an advanced prepper. Would it kill you to just be nice?

      • if you ever feel your ears burning, It’s probably me talking GOOD about you. I’ve remarked more than once , ” I wish she was our neighbor”… that being said, I kinda agree with MIC here. This list is a baby-steps-beginner list. This is IMO a list for a brand new hasn’t done any research “prepper”. And again, IMO, a HUGE omission is the prepper phrase “2 is one and 1 is NONE”. Prepping is a mindset as well as actions. IMO, ALWAYS be prepared for the worst to happen, and pray it doesn’t. And always know in the back of your mind, you WILL forget something……………just try not to. Again, love your articles and truly wish you were my neighbor 🙂

    • I disagree with Mic. I think this is a great prepping list presented in an interesting way. It’s an appreciative “thumbs up” from me. Thank you, Ashley.

    • What I find interesting is all the different interpretations others have commented on in their A-to-Z list.
      It is a display of outside of the box thinking, and critical thinking.
      Those who garden every year, some of those items are everyday or every season, they are still much need items to garden. A wheelbarrow may not seem like a prepping item, but it sure is handy when moving 20lbs of compost. A 5gal bucket may not seem like a prepping item, but when the grid is down, and you have to haul water from a source it sure is handy.
      Cooking from scratch may not seem like a prepping item, until the local Wally-World has been looted and burned down.

      • I agree 1stMarine. For myself, A is for Ammo, and G or F, guns and firearms, R for reloading and so on.
        It will depend upon an individual’s priorities, and that being the case, every person will have a different A to Z list. It doesn’t make their list wrong for them or right for you. It’s based on their priorities.

  • Good job on the article. Good start on what is needed to stay safe in an emergency. I like this gravity-fed water filter you mentioned. It is just like the Big Berkey, only at less than half the price. I suggest the Mora blade-only, if you think you can make a handle. It’s a great knife with a scandi-grind, and affordable, too. You can use it anywhere – kitchen, too. I also suggest the Kelly Kettle Base Camp cookset. Costs around 175 bucks, but worth every penny, for a crisis-time back porch meal.

  • D for “Dental.”
    Had a tooth fracture like over 10 years ago. Never hurt.
    Then Monday morning (12DEC22) while eating leftover tacos, it broke. Did not hurt, but one part was loose.
    Wednesday morning, it got pulled.

  • S for “Sleeping bag.”
    Reading about the rollling blackouts from the overtaxed grid (one guy in TN was without power on Christmas Eve for 6 hours), a good sleeping bag is worth the cost.
    Also, look into liners for the sleeping bag. One, adds an additional layer, increasing the warmth factor. Two, help keep the sleeping bag itself clean. Just wash the liner.

  • Ammo
    Chain Saw
    Diesel Fuel
    Fire Wood
    Gasoline Treatment
    Hand Tools
    Jacks (RR, hydraulic)
    Metric to English Conversion Charts
    Nuts and Bolts
    Ohm Meter
    Pot Still
    Quick Reference Guides
    Reloading Press
    Stones and Sharpening Steels
    Tanks (water, fuel, fertilizer storage)
    UV Blocking Window Film
    Veterinarian Medical Supplies
    Water Well
    XL Gloves and Socks
    Your Best Attitude
    Zippo Lighters and Fluid

      • It’s in every seed and feed store around me. I use it in a couple different forms. Dermal Pour on this time of year for cattle to control lice. Paste form in the worming rotation for the draft ponies.

        The paste form is particularly useful for ease of administration. I hear it actually does taste like green apples as advertised.

  • Welcome to the group Ashley. Any prepping list, whether “should already have it” or “oh yeah, good idea” is good to keep us thinking. Look forward to more from you.

  • L for “Lighter.”
    I know. Everyone goes for the disposable Bics.
    Seems whenever I go to use one, it wont light.
    A few months ago I bought a ruggedized lighter. Just now getting to the point I need to replace the flint. I own Daisy a review on it.
    Also add a flint and steel striker lighter.

    R for “Rope (or cordage).”
    Back in the day, before there was duct tape, zip-ties, velcro, there was rope.
    Different lengths, diameters.
    And know how to tie different knots for different applications.

    • 1stMJH,

      I’m interested in that review. I bet I’ve wasted a mint on disposable lighters (bic, cricket, etc.) they all suck. In frustration I kept going back to my grandfather’s zippo he had since he was a waist gunner on a B-17 during WWII. Its a maintenance issue. Seems like I’m constantly refilling, but never fails to light.

  • P = Painkillers

    Cheap over the counter meds in their foil packets have….

    General Acceptability

    And you can use them to kill pain.

  • G for glasses repair kit. W for Wool blankets and socks. T for Thermal underwear, ie long johns. I for Ice cleats, ie Yak Trax. Granted that’s an area-specific thing but when the ice is thick, I never leave home without them!

    • Jayne,
      Good point about the Yak Trax. I have a set myself, saved my butt on more than one occasion.
      I will add,
      S for “Snow shoes.”

      • They’ve saved my butt literally! Falling on it, as padded as it may be, isn’t as fun as it used to be! Also I’ve broken bones by slipping on ice. That’s no fun during good times! During bad, a broken leg can be deadly.

        • Thanks for the Yak Trax idea, at 82 years of age, my wife and I both needed a pair. Ordered today.

  • Printed phone #s & addresses of family & friends. Easy to create & edit on Excel. Also, a list of businesses, including insurance. A good backup to my phone & GPS. Also, I give this file to both my adult kids. When we go on vacation, I just mention the names of whom we’re visiting & they have the info. already.

    • I printed one of these a while back. I could not tell you any of my 5 kids phone numbers at the top of my head!! Uhhh, it’s the one where I press their face?! Lol. I tuck it in my phone case now. Not sure if that’d help me if SHTF but I’m a step closer. 🙂

  • I’m wondering about fire blankets as an option? Fire extinguishers are great, but they do need maintenance, a certain level of capability, and they run out, different types depending on what is burning etc …while a blanket has different limitations and is generally much simpler.

  • Ammo (all calibers needed for your guns)
    Barter items (cigarettes, liquor, tools, etc)
    Camping supplies (for sleeping and cooking)
    D batteries (all size batteries needed)
    Energy bars
    Food sources (canned, dried, etc.)
    Guns (pistol, shotgun, and rifle)
    Hand Tools (basic hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, etc)
    Jackets (all-purpose for rain and warmth)
    Knives (folding and straight)
    Light sources (multiple flashlights, lighters, and candles)
    Medical kit (basic supplies)
    Nuts and Bolts
    Outdoor knowledge ( know your area and have a plan.)
    Pots for cooking
    Quick Reference Survival Guides (printed in a notebook, not on a computer)
    Stones and Sharpening Steels
    Tarp and toiletries (shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, toothpaste)
    Under Armours (thermals)
    Vaseline and vitamins
    Water (bottled and filters)
    X (extra clothes, gloves, shoes, and socks
    Your Best Attitude
    Zippo Lighters and Fluid

  • I agree with Lakeside Joe… This list is food for thought! It kinda reminds us to rethink what we have prepared for and what we have saved up. Oh and how we can start a conversation with a new prepper.

  • First off, let me just say, I both like and dislike “Lists.” Lists like the one published here, show an individual’s priorities. This can be a good thing, but it can also box one in, and obviously, what’s a priority for one person, might not be a priority for others. So I take these lists, and use what I can, and discard what I’ve no use/need for.
    Everyone will have Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to survive, and this will be the same whether you live in the wilds of Alaska, or the concrete jungle of an inner city. Fresh air, clean water, adequate caloric intake, disposal of waste and shelter from the elements, are all things one needs to survive, whether it’s day to day, or in a post-apocalyptic environment. Those will not change, and in the loss of any one or several of those needs, survival will not be achieved, and that’s a fact.
    The point is, that one needs to use the author’s “list” to develop one’s own list. Once you really start thinking about it and compiling “your personal list, you’ll find that each letter will stand for a multitude of items, not just one item that you’ll need to survive. A complete list will have dozens of items/supplies under each letter from A to Z.

  • My thoughts sometimes wander to what to have in my cave when the end of the world comes.

    – Surprised that no one above mentioned toilet paper! Someone needs to invent compacted TP so it doesn’t take so much space.

    – No one mentioned QTips either. Got to have plenty of those.

    – And Ibuprofen. Buy cases of it.

    – Reading glasses. All powers and hundreds of them. Remember that Twilight Zone episode?

    – Magnifying glass. Multiple again.

    – Knives & saws. Many of these. Big and small.

    – Cooking spices.

    – Soap (bar form).

    – Space blankets. Air mattresses.

    – Toothbrushes and toothpaste.

    etc., etc.

    • We are looking into non-electric bediets to extend the TP supply or when the TP runs out, less mess with a wash cloth.
      My parents have them in their bathrooms.
      One, surprised at how well it washed, and left me feeling clean.
      Two, even if I used TP, I only used two squares.

    • There are compressed tablet form wet wipes for tp long storage.

      Also along with imodium some one will.die from bowel blockage from mre so have some fiber for other just in case.

      No mention of group of fellow survivors you can trust.. no person can do it all forever without sickness injury or mental issues.

      Socks really good socks i prefer mohair ones that are sheathed in a polyester… easy to clean just get wet and rinse. Stay warm when wet and are very good at not getting sore feet.

      The oxygen … dont buy tanks… buy a oxygen concentrator its a life saver.

      Warning on the clotting stuff..without modern hospital be sure your long term care and medical person had gear to treat the clots created by quick clot or you are risking a painful slow death.

      Still for making alcohol… its a must not a maybe item. Fuel for all gas engines with upgraded fuel lines, medicine, part cleaner, lighting, cooking,
      Trade and weapon.

  • Detergent (Dawn or Tide; can be multiuse)
    Glasses (extra pair, reading glasses, sun)
    Immodium (crapping yourself to death is a real danger in a SHTF situation)
    Personal “tools”: nail clippers, comb, tweezers, ponytail elastics, hand mirror
    Rechargeable radio/phone charger/light/siren with solar panels
    Sewing kit (different threads, needles, buttons, patches, scissors)
    Washcloths/dish towels (soft and hearty weight/texture; a million uses)

  • As a side note….
    High Tech- Stove/Electricity
    Low Tech-BBQ or Grill/Flashlights, headlamps with batteries
    No Tech-campfire/candles or tiki lights.

    We can prep all we want, but if you don’t have alternatives to keepin’ on keepin on, the rest is iffy.

    Always have a solution to survive any and all that you can.

  • Hi Daisy. Love your site, been reading for years. How bout an advanced prepper story? Here are my suggestions, for us Snow Fremen, based on improving Dave Canterbury’s 5’s C’s of prepping.

    1. Home made clothes of felt and fur, not Cover.
    2. Carving tools, not Cutting.
    3. Tons of cordage, not just Cordage
    4. Thermos, not Container
    5. Alcohol stove, not Combusion

    FYI, not sure if you saw this: Israeli Ministry of Intelligence: “The world will soon face “a series of crisis striking simultaneously that will reorder the planet’s…”

  • An A to Z is never going to be a well-balanced list, but it can be a start for discussion about priorities among a group of preppers.

    Personally, I think that the B should very definitely be taken by Books (hey, in the Beginning was the Word and all that). I think preppers should have printed books on all sorts of prepping subjects, plus a printed encyclopedia (60s and 70s encyclopedias are very cheap on eBay these days, and they have most of the information that a prepper might need), and a number of books that are lighter and for entertainment as well, because in an emergency without power, you are likely to be very glad you have them. There is another very good reason to have Books, and it’s that they are a good way to counteracting all the psyops we are surrounded with. People think of psyops as stuff that the Pentagon does, but I had a chat with the ChatGPT AI and I learned from it that these days, politicians and probably just about any very famous person of any sort that makes speeches, advertising, etc, use AI to analyse the sentiment of the text and fix it to make it more attractive to the audience. I tested ChatGPT and it was pretty good at telling me about sentiment and possible ways of making a sentence sound nicer. Now, think about that. We are constantly being given all sorts of manipulated messages that sound nicer than what the average person hears from other average people. Do you think that might explain why so many people (including Daisy herself) lost heart and didn’t have the chops to protect their nearest ones when a pandemic actually struck? I think so. Well, how can you protect yourself and be damned determined that, come hell, high water, or demonically possessed people, if it can possibly come to that, you and your family survive? I found books to be a big protection from the rubbish of the media.

    The Radio is another very useful prep, but it can go on the R on the list.

    I like the Yellow cleaning gloves. They’re useful not just for all the stuff mentioned, but also for emergency plumbing repairs and can be used as an emergency tourniquet (remember that you should do a First Aid course so you know the correct way of doing a tourniquet).

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive

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