Emergency Plan Basics

Emergency Preparedness Plan Basics

It has been said that a poor Emergency Preparedness Plan is better than no plan.  This section is just to give an overview of things that should be taken into consideration and plans made in advance.  During an emergency if no plan is in place you may find yourself in a panic with everyone else trying to figure out what to do.

Having some form of plan will bring about a certain level of security and comfort.  This section does not give the how to’s but things to consider.

A Personal Emergency Preparedness Plan should cover several key items such as:

Contact Points for Family

Disasters and contingency events don’t necessarily happen at opportune times when you are ready and waiting.  You may find yourself or other members of your family away from home.  A primary consideration here is to have included in your Emergency Preparedness Plan is how you and your family will reassemble.

You should have a primary and two alternative meeting points.  This is recommended so that in the event your primary point of refuge is not secure or has been destroyed you can advance to your second or third points of contact.

Normal methods of communications may not be operating and it may be virtually impossible to connect with other family members without a predetermined plan since you may be tempted to go hunt for them while they are attempting to travel home.

Your car should have some basic items in it in case of such an event.  This should include proper shoes, a coat for winter and a few bottles of water.  A woman certainly doesn’t want to walk ten miles from work to home in high heels and you may not be able to find water on a hot day.

Other considerations may consist of a 72 hour survival kit or also known as a “bugout” bag.  A 72 hour bag should contain first aid supplies, flashlight, water, rain gear, and a 3 day supply of MRE’s or Meals Ready to Eat.  Emergency preparedness supplies usually have kits ready made or food supplies packaged for 72 hours.  Bug out bags and supplies to build a full or partial bug out bag can be found on our affliate site Urban-Survival.us.

Other security items may need to be considered as outlined in the security section.


First Aid

A first aid kit whether bought or built should be stored at your primary location and in your car.  You should learn the basics on how to dress a wound, stop bleeding, make a tourniquet and tend to broken bones and shock.


Water Sources

The average person needs two gallons of water per day.

If the water is still running you may be fine but in case it isn’t you should have made a plan on how you are going to get water.   If the water system to the house isn’t running you should shut off the water valve to the water system as it enters the house to avoid contamination.

Short term sources may include:

  • bottled water on hand
  • ice cubes
  • toilet tank reservoirs (not bowl)
  • water heaters
  • draining water lines

Your Emergency Preparedness Plan should include filling your bathtub and any over vessels with water from your main water source if it is still functioning and you think that it is imminent that it may be shut down or otherwise compromised.

If you have space you could install a second water heater (turned off) or tank into your water system to let water continuously flow through it.  This could give you an additional 40 to 100 gallons of fresh water reserve.

Other sources included devising a way to collect rain water via gutter downspouts or tarps and other ground sources such as streams or ponds.  Depending on the nature of the disaster and public reaction, traveling from your home to get water from an outside source may be risky as you may come under attack.

Rain water caught directly is considered safe but it must be captured in a clean vessel or may need to be filtered or purified.  Catching rain water from the roof may have comtaminates in it that need to be filtered.  Water collected from streams or other surface sources should be filtered and boiled.


Shelter Alternatives

If secure, your home will most likely be your first choice for shelter but other alternatives include tents, automobiles, or other person’s homes with whom you have a prearranged agreement.  If the situation is severe you may find yourself not welcomed at some places so it is best to identify others and have a mutual agreement in advance with whom you may network as part of your Emergency Preparedness Plan.



A good bit of information is available on this site dealing with long term food storage and how to acquire.  Additional information will be added over time on some do it yourself tips and procedures.  There are several considerations when buying food from emergency preparedness sources such as Urban-Survival.us.  This includes what type and the quantity.  The 6 gallon pails usually cost less than the equivalency in # 10 cans but consideration should be given that though the pails and cans both have a shelf life of around thirty years when properly stored they may have a shelf life of around a month or two after opening. 

Depending on the availablility of electricity you should give priority to consuming perishables and frozen foods first before they spoil.  Depending on what is stored in your refrigerator and freezer you may need to supplement it with some of your longer term storage supplies for better nutrition and calorie intake.



If the grid is down you won’t have any energy and even with a generator it will be sort term.  Energy is used for cooking, cooling and heating.  Don’t panic if it is down.  Remember that a hundred years ago some people didn’t have external sources of energy and survived.  Just have included in your Emergency Preparedness Plan on how to supply your needs and have special products on hand for at least short term survival such as propane, charcoal, wood, additional blankets, etc.

If this is to be an extended outage for months you may need to begin considering an alternative or replenishment source as these sources may be exhausted.



Regardless of your personal position on gun ownership it is best to realize that there are those who have guns and some of them may threaten your security.

You may seek alternatives but a gun is the best defense as it seems to even the odds but only if you know how to use it.  There is a saying “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”.

If you are not comfortable with guns and don’t want to keep one readily accessible and being trained, you may consider getting a short barreled 12 gauge shotgun and keep some 00 buckshot secured in another place to access only during an emergency.  You can defend yourself at close range of less than 100 feet and almost sure to hit or scare away anyone.  You could get by with only a minimal amount of practice so that you know the feel of the weapon and how to use it.

A more practical weapon in addition to the shotgun would be a semi-automatic rifle.  Handguns are good for short range, concealment, and carrying in your car if permitted by law and can be taken with you for security in the event you are having to walk home.  However, handguns take a good bit of practice in order to be able to use them effectively. 

If you aren’t trained on how to use a handgun and willing to use it when necessary then it is best not to have one as the perpetrator may take it away from you.  Part of you survival plan should be maintaining your skills on using whatever weapon or means of security you plan to use.  This may include going to a target range every few months to practice with a gun.

In a major emergency situation where everything has gone wrong the best weapon to have is the one that people ask “When will you ever need to use that?”.

Security is an essential issue that should be part of any Emergency Preparedness Plan.



The term money is used here instead of financial considerations.  Money is anything that is used as an exchange for other goods or services.  Currently you may use your credit card, currency or checkbook to purchase things.

Depending on the event your credit card and checking account may be useless as there is no access to them.  In an extreme emergency it may be possible that currency is of no value.

For a personal crisis you should have 6 months reserve in the bank to help with a personal financial situation.  This will allow you to pay your rent or mortagage and buy food.

In a higher level event you may not have access to your bank accounts and it would be best to have some currency on hand or something else that you can use as a barter to exchange.

In an extreme situation the currency may become worthless and gold used as an exchange but it is also possible that gold will not be accepted and other items such as food, ammunition or other commodities used as an exchange.



As mentioned earlier it is good to include networking with others in your Emergency Preparedness Plan.  If the public begins to panic or become uncivil or gangs begin to roam, you may find that it is difficult to provide your own security.

You could establish a mutual plan with others to either join you or you join them in case of such an event.  However, if you plan to have others come to your home then make sure that the plan either calls for them to have their own provisions or your stocking enough to accomdate them.



This is defined as either one-way or two-way communications.  Telephone, TV, cable and other sources of sending or getting information may be disrupted.

Hand crank radios can be used to get information if power is restored to other areas and broadcasting resumes.  This may provide vital information regarding the event and resources.

An inverter can be used to create 110 vold current from 12 volt batteries such as the one in your car.  Having one of these on hand may allow you to power a radio or give a few hours of use of your TV.  Again, this is to be used to search for information and not watch sports or DVD’s.  You may not have a way to recharge the batter once it has been depleted.



There may come a point where you make a decision that you will have to evacuate your position and go to a more secure or desired location.  This may be across town or miles away.

You may not be able to use your car as the roads may be congested, may not be fuel available or your car may not be working. 

Try to have a plan where you can evacuate without being a refugee.  Have MRE’s, water, adequate clothing and security that can be easilty taken with you.  If you are able and plan to use your car be aware that there might not be fuel available along the way and it may take more fuel than usual to make any trip since you may be stuck in traffic or need to take detours.

Your Emergency Preparedness Plan should include several considerations on contingencies on where you would relocate depending on the various scenarios.


Personal Sanitation

If water is scarce use it sparingly.  If public water is not available you will need to have a plan on how to dispose of human waste as the toilets will not be working.



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