Emergency Preparedness Basics

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Before building up your Food Storage, it’s important to develop your own Family Emergency Preparedness Plan.

Key Points

  • Use our Emergency Preparedness Plan as a guide to develop your own plan
  • Take into consideration family members with special needs and/or pets
  • Customize your plan to fit the preferences of you and your family
  • Take care of the basics first, don’t get overwhelmed with more advanced topics
  • In addtion to a preparedness plan, backup your computers and other electronic media
  • Make sure you have proper insurance, wills, and other legal documents in place
  • Start thinking about alternate fuel/cooking sources, sanitation, etc.

Emergency Preparedness Plan

We compiled information from a lot of different resources and created a Family Emergency Preparedness Plan for you to download. This document will guide you through developing your own Emergency Preparedness Plan.

Emergency Preparedness Plan Components

Family Plan: Includes a list of topics to discuss with your family, emergency protocol to follow, contact info, meeting locations and education. An emergency is no time to figure out what you should be doing. Make it a habit of reminding young children of your plans and protocols.

72 Hour Kit & Emergency Binder: Includes a list of items for 72 hour kits. We’ve also included a list of important documents for you to gather to create your Emergency Binder in case you you have to “rebuild” your life. These items may be for you to use at home, or for you to take with you in case of an evacuation type scenario.

Evacuation List & Car Kit: Includes measures to take when evacuating your home including a list of important things to grab and instructions to build a car kit. You never know when you may be stranded on the road, so make sure to keep your car prepared for emergencies.



  • Cvgal2000

    Last line of my post I meant I CAN’T have it in the car all the time because of the extreme heat.

  • Cvgal2000

    I am trying to put together an emergency car kit but am having trouble with the food.  I live in the high desert and in the summer the inside car temperature can get up to 120 degrees.  I know the water is gonna be warm, but what kind of protein bars or high cal meal bars can I get that will not melt in this kind of heat.  Most of them have chocolate in them and that is not going to work….am at a loss. I do have my 72 hr kits done, but that’s not something I can have in the car all the time because of the extreme heat. Any suggestions???

  • Dangerrightnleft

    I have a shelf Reliance and it has helped me alot but need to be able to knlw where and what I have stored many other jplaces in our home. Thats what i am looking for.

  • Edgeofthewoods

    Assigning a pet per child is an effective way of having the pets cared for and the child focued rather than anxious and underfoot. We regularly did this with the pets and kids when going on holidays and it worked really well.

  • karen

    What a great idea, putting their picture on it! I could easily do that… At times they switch car seats. I figured if they ended up at Kaiser they would sort it out, but this would be quicker. Thanks!

  • We also have car seat tags for our kids. We have their names, height, weight, birthdays, allergies, parents names, and phone numbers, and have pictures of my kids on their tags as a “there is no doubt about who this info goes with” kinda thing. I also keep the same info in my wallet, DH wallet, and diaper bag in case something happens to my kids and police might need an up-to-date photo and info.

  • kim in tenn

    hi – if you take the cardboard out of the toilet paper roll and smush it flat, you can get a LOT into a space bag and that will store flat in small spaces.

  • Karen

    Okay, I have to confess that I started receiving the BabySteps emails a year ago and took until this summer to begin. I was buying extras of our favorite foods though! In the last two months I have put together a binder with copies of all our important documents, prepared the emergency contacts list (never had one before) and taught my 5yo son how to find the right number and dial, stored 3 days of water for our family of four, stockpiled three weeks worth of diapers and wipes, put together a home first aid kit (we already had most items but they were not organized) and two car kits complete with food and water, and I made car seat tags for the little ones.

    That's when I realized you haven't mentioned those! 🙂 I used Word and created a table with two columns (one for each boy) and three rows (one for each of our two cars and one for my dad's) with their names, birthdays, allergies, Kaiser numbers and our emergency numbers. I cut them out and laminated them. I used safety pins to attach them backwards to the outside shoulder of their car seats. That way you can't read them by looking through the waindow but have to turn them around when the door/window is opened. I feel better knowing that if the unthinkable happens and I can not speak for them, the emergency crew has their info right away…

    Thank you so much for your site and advice! I feel good knowing that I am making serious strides at being prepared in case something happens. 🙂

  • That's a great idea!

  • Theresa

    Just finished updating our emergency bags for this year, but I added something new. I bought reflective stickers for bicycle helmets and stuck one on the outside of each bag so we could find them in the dark with a flash light easily in case the power goes out.

  • Just discovered your website through Blog Frog. It is awesome! I live in Florida and hurricane season is right around the corner. The first BabySteps Checklist is perfect for me right now.

  • I just found your site through Simple Utah. What a great place to come to get tons of resources! Thank you for your time and effort!

  • I just found your site through Simple Utah. What a great place to come to get tons of resources! Thank you for your time and effort!

  • Lori King

    I live in a house that is 860 SF, and one thing that helped is to put your beds up on risers ( – don't order from a catalog as WalMart is cheaper). with the increased underbed storage area, I have LOTS of TP in the 12 and 24 packs, as well as cases of food. You can also put things on the bottom of closets, or on the top shelves in closets. Creativity helps in this area. Don't give up; you will find all kinds of places you didn't think of.

  • Jim Carroll

    My friends and family are the type to balk at at week-long kit as being “too much trouble.” 72-hour kits are good ways to get them started in the prepping mentality. The key is to get them to think of prepping as a process, where they don't stop thinking at “72-hour kit — I'm set for life!” and start thinking “72-hour kit — Hmm… what else do I need to get to be ready?”

  • Lisa

    Don't know if you realize it but “Supplies” is misspelled in the title on one of your pages. No offense intended . . . It's what I do for a living . . .

  • One suggestion is to go from the 72-hour kit mentality to the week-long kit. It took at least that long during hurricane Katrina and then in Haiti. This is what we've tried to do since we are in a very isolated place. Helped a lot with any anxiety I would have had during yesterday's tsunami warning.

  • brandiwatson

    My friend and I just found them at REI online, look up emergency stove. Or I think I also found them at shelfreliance.com 🙂

  • jwander

    Please see our blog for more ideas regarding Jewish Prepping! Thanks.

  • steeplechaser

    Hello I was reading about your recipes for can milk or condenced milk. can you tell me where they are. I would love to have those recipes so I don't have to buy the cans any more.
    thanks Carol

  • bmantel

    I am much more prepared with a 3 month and long term storage than I am for a disaster. I live in Eureka, California and just experienced the earthquake there. I thought I would share the link to my blog so you could see the first hand experiences of my lack of preparedness.http://bonnie-dancingintherain.blogspot.com/2010/01/earthquake.html

  • I have purchased extra fuel pellets at Emergency Essentials (beprepared.com) but I can't find them on their website any longer. Perhaps you could give them a call and see if they still carry them and if they could ship some out to ya. I haven't been able to find them online anywhere else. Sorry!

  • hansenbenteloe

    Hi, I just signed up for your emails; I also looked up the wingtip stove with pellets. The company you suggested has the stove (great price) bit extra pellets are not discussed. Can you suggest another source for the pellets?

    Bente in WA

  • genevieveh

    Where can the wing tip stoves for the 72 hour kits be found?

  • stgeorge05

    THANK YOU! I have visited your site a long time ago and then saw you on TV yesterday and decided it was time to get organized and KNOW I'm prepared. You're site is amazing I don't know what else you could do to make it better. Thank you so much.

  • Barbara

    Under the bed, behind the couch, rent a (near-by) storage unit. Add a storage cupboard you buy at Home Depot. Don't pay any attention to those who say it all needs to be gathered into one closet. Spread it around if need be. Some think this is better anyway, in case someone breaks in to steal. They'll never find it all.

  • Barbara

    Steph… Pay attention and track what you eat now. How much do you eat in 3 months? I eat a vegetable at least once a day. (I know, I should eat more). That means I need some kind of veggie X 90 days. (90 cans of green beans? Perhaps some of it spinach, peas, carrots etc.) multiply that X4 for a whole year. That means 365 cans of vegetables. Figure out the equivalent if you are going to store frozen or dried. This does include (or does not, as you see fit) stuff like tomato sauce for spagetti or pizza.

  • max191

    Great blog here. Keep it up! Please try to include more information if possible.
    charcoal grill

  • zealot64

    in case of an emergency I run to mother Jerusalem's dwelling place which is Zion. (isa 33:20) Jerusalem is here in the east, she's in the ends of the earth, the queen of the south, and from the north a great war will come.

    She protects me from all disasters by celebrating the passover. We know that in the future, Mother will be known in every nation and by everyone.

  • zealot64

    in case of an emergency I run to mother Jerusalem's dwelling place

    She protects me from all disasters by celebrating the passover. We know that in the future, Mother will be known in every nation and by everyone.

  • Lynne, this is a common concern we hear, so we asked our readers to provide ideas on this very topic and the results were incredible. You can read all the ideas here: http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/2009/01/26/small

  • My husband and I live in an apartment that is under 1000 sq ft. I keep finding all sorts of info on doing food storage in a house but not much if anything on apartment food storage. We have our 72 hour emergency kits for ourselves and our dog. Any help with food storage apartment style I would greatly appreciate.

  • Lori

    I just want to clarify about Kashrut (the laws of keeping Kosher etc). The laws are really for being thankful for what G-d provides and gives us to eat and that we should be conscious of what we are eating to strive to be holy. Eating is a holy act and only the foods and combination of foods that G-d allows is our avenue to attain that. It really is not related to Kosher foods being “more healthy” etc. Pork is safe when cooked properly and Jews aren't supposed to eat it because G-d said not to.

  • azjdk

    We were running around trying to gather our evac list. Got the car loaded, 72 hr packs etc, and left. All of a sudden we all at the same time remembered the animals, we left them at home. In reality, I have cat carriers with food and water dishes, the dogs leashes are hung by the garage door. So we really did plan for them, but we left without them??? We freaked out, this was only a dry run, what if it was a reality???!!! Otherwise, everything went fairly well.

  • 27Pamela57

    Thank you so very much!!!

  • Marilyn Potter

    You can refer to D&C 89:3 if the word of wisdom is for the weakest of the weak saints what more would be needed? Look in Deut 14 it will give you the greater part of the word of wisdom. The jewish laws for healthy eating. Being in “alternative health care” I go to many classes and have found that the reason for Deut 14 gets into the energy of the foods we ingest and those of scavengers when ingested have the same color as cancer according to those who are clarvoyant have stated.

  • edieclemons

    I love this web site for ideas and being prepared!

  • 27Pamela57

    Thanks so much.  I'll be referring your web site.

  • Pamela, this is a great question and there are a few ways you could break up the content. First you could talk about reasons to do food storage (i.e. for emergencies, health benefits, cost savings). While we initially did food storage for emergency situations we have been thrilled to learn more about the health benefits of eating whole grains and the cost savings from cooking more meals at home and from scratch.

    You could then just outline all or some of our BabySteps. Depending on your audience you may skip whatever steps you don't think are relevant. I would briefly touch on water and 3 month supply. Then spend a lot of time on the long term items of wheat and legumes. Then go into some more detail on other things you would need to store in order to cook with the wheat and legumes (baking ingredients). You can add in steps 8-10 if time permits.

    Lastly, if you are focusing on food storage for emergencies, it could be helpful to discuss alternate cooking/preparation methods as a lot of people don't even want to start on food storage because they think it's stupid to store it if you can't use it.

    If you have even MORE time … another helpful topic to cover would be rotation of your food storage. We like to emphasize using your food storage in your everyday cooking and even give handouts with food storage recipes on them.

    Hope that gives you a start 🙂 Good luck!

  • 27Pamela57

    In a few months I am supposed to talk in front of 200+people about food storage. Can you give me any ideas on what are the most important parts to hit for people to get an overview? It will be about two hours worth of material. I've been looking at lots of websites. There is so much out there i am overwhelmed. I have not been brought up with food storage it is something new, plus I have to cover kosher food aspects of food storage as well. Avoiding msg, pork, shellfish that type of stuff too.

  • Dame

    I started using dehydrated tomatoes and onions about 5 years ago when I had a bumper crop and learned to cook with them. I now keep about a two year supply for normal use, which in a pinch would likely last a year. I do not use dehydrated bell peppers, but have eaten them at a friends and they work well. They store easily and take up almost no space compared to other forms of vegetable storage.

    For fruit I keep a large stock of raisins, currents, dates and dryed apples. They get boring but are fruit, store well for long periods of time, and take up very little space.

  • Generally long term calculators only list “life-sustaining” foods. Fruits and vegetables are considered extras and optional so are not on a lot of calculators. I basically just look at what a serving size would be for my family and try to store one serving of fruit and one of vegetables per day for the year. I don't have a full year supply yet. But you can figure this out and add it into your excel calculator sheet if you want to track detailed inventories on it. Hope that helps a bit!

  • stephanie

    Does anyone have a basic quality of how much fruits and veg's you should store? The only thing I see on the cowqlater is “basics”.

    Thanks S.

  • JOY

    I love your new format of this page – so easy to follow! Thanks for all you DO!

  • akamom

    I haven’t looked over your whole site but it appears that your basic emergency plan does not talk about “Shelter in Place.” This is an important part of a basic emergency plan the woudl be used if you were not able to leave your home to evacuate. Examples may be a the release of a hazardous gas or radiation release. In such circumstances you should not evacuate but “Shelter in Place”. I’m sure you can find a lot of good information on this concept on the http://www.ready.gov site.

  • Cindy Lee Muir

    Hello, I just found and love this site. I am the Lehi Community Newsletter. I am just wondering if I could some of your info to the newsletter. It is an “newsletter” we do not sell or promote items or business. The info I add will be for community information only and I will add your website home page address. Let me know if this is something I can do for the residents of Lehi, Utah.
    Thank You, Cindy Lee Muir

    • Jodi — Food Storage Made Easy

      Hi Cindy, if it’s just small snippets of things from our site, and you add our website as the reference, we would have no problems with that. We would be flattered! We are grateful to have people spreading the word about our site and about food storage in general. It’s so important, especially right now! Thanks for asking 🙂

  • Linda

    Your site has been such a great resource in helping me with my calling as Emergency Preparedness Director!

    I have a website with monthly goals for my ward and for anyone else who wants to follow along and get more prepared. Of course, I reference your site all the time on it!


  • EMR

    I have just logged on and received my first update. Thanks. I live just outside Durban,RSA. Our biggest problem is motivating people to get started. I have had food storage all through my church membership, And during a retrenchment it really saved our bacon, I want to use your program to get our ward really working on it, and would appreciate any tips you could give me on accomplishing that.

  • Terri Stanko

    What great information in easy to read and plan format. I love to organize but since we are renovating I spend so much time re-organizing the same items that need to be moved to new temporary places, I haven’t even begun to think about these food storage kits until I came across your site. Thanks so much and I can’t wait to get started! Great job on all of your hard work!


  • Laura Lake

    I just found your website and am SO grateful that someone has put this together in an easy, fun, and helpful format. I need reminders!!! And I’m so glad you offer that. I’m excited to get started and to learn how to use it all.

    Thanks a million!

  • Susie

    Do you have any ideas on how and where to store emergency 72 hour kits or car kits for a large family? Having 11 sleeping bags in the car is not going to work! Additionally, I am going to be hard pressed to figure out how to store the 11 emergency kits.. I thought I could get a new big trash can for our food kits but I don’t know how I am going to store blankets and such for 11 people!

  • Scott

    I am really new to the whole idea of food storage. Your website has been very insightful at helping to understand the procees. Your 3 month food supply excel sheet is great. I’m having trouble with the actual meal ideas (I’m not much of a cook). Do you have a sample meal plan (and or recipes) for a week–breakfast, lunch, and dinner that would work with the typical stored foods, but can be cooked on a grill or camp stove (in case ovens are usuable)?

  • Amber

    Thanks Jodi, Shelf Reliance does sell the wing tip stove still. Emergency Essentials does not. Thanks much!

  • Jodi

    Amber, I have updated the 72 hour kit post to have a new link to shelf reliance where you can buy the wing-tip stove online. I’m not sure if they (or Emergency Essentials) still sell them in the store. We bought ours about 3 years ago. Hope that helps!

  • Emily Patterson

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this website! I totally have the self-reliance itch but I’ve been humming with my fingers in my ears!! Thanks for all your hard work! I shrunk at the idea that it would take a little more money to get started (shelving, supplies, etc.) but then I remembered that it is perfect timing for an incoming tax return! 2009 is going to be FINE!!!

  • Amber

    I cannot find a wing tip stove on the Emergency Essentials website. Do you know of any other websites that sell those? Does Emergency Essentials still sell these? Our kits are all done and ready to be taped up, I am just waiting on these stoves. Thanks for all the info and help, what a great help this website is!!

  • Kirsty

    I have been struggling for months trying to figure out where to start, what to get, and how much to get of everything. I was very overwhelmed and got cranky everytime I thought of it…but now those days are in the past! Thank you so much, now I know my family is ready and it wasn’t hard to get there.

  • brownmom

    I am new to the site and love the tools. Thank you. I just wanted to make a comment in response to PJ’s question. I made the investment this year with our stimulus check and purchased the basics of a one year supply. Since then I have purchased pantry items etc. each month as they came on sale. I have to say, my food bill has decreased most weeks or stayed the same, but on the weeks it is the same, we are eating better than we did or accomodating a special occasion which used to be an “extra” expense. Not to mention, we actually ate out less because I had a meal plan (thanks to these ladies) and didn’t have to spend time wondering what to fix and figuring out if I had the ingredients. The peace of mind of having full “cupboards” is extraordinary. We even this past month have had some unemployment come our way. We were able to keep feeding our family and only had to purchase the perishables. I go back to work after the first of the year but will, after my experience, be happy continue to utilize and replenish my food supply on a weekly basis.

  • PJ

    Do you ladies find that once your 1-year supply of storage food is in place, that your monthly “food maintenance” to keep up the storage food supply and replace what is used, costs less or more than your regular grocery bills before you started your food storage plan? I ask because food has gone up in price so much where I live, I’d like to get an idea of any savings I may realize when I make food an “investment.” Thank you for your website!

  • Misty Sutton

    In working with the Emergency Preparedness Council of our Stake, I volunteered to design a flyer with simple ways to get started on food storage in order to help our members not feel so completely overwhelmed with the task. I am definately going to incorporate a ton of the information on this site. Thanks so much! It is very obvious how much effort you ladies put into this.

  • Mary Barclay

    Wow Julie,

    “When thou art converted strengthen thy brethren” You are converted to this principle and are helping others to do so. I am so proud of you. Thanks for letting me know about it!

  • Jodi

    Heidi, youtube seems to be having some trouble with this video. I am working on uploading it to a new spot so that it will work all the time. Sorry!

  • Heidi

    I clicked on the link for the 72 hour kit video and it says “we’re sorry, this video is no longer available”

  • Great step by step info. You can find a ton of recipies to use with all the stored foods and how to rotate it into your everyday menu to avoid spoilage and decrease your current food budget at http://www.marlenesmagic.com.

  • Jodi

    Thanks for the tips Michelle. We’ve used simplylivingsmart.com too, especially for finding detailed information about specific things. It can be a bit overwhelming over there but I agree it is an excellent resource. Also, we are researching alternative heating/cooking methods and will be posting about them once we have completed our BabySteps.

  • Michelle

    I really think this site is great. It’s perfect for those who like a structured way of getting their storage. A lot of times, it’s a lot less overwhelming when it’s broken down for you. Thanks for your work.
    In response to Cathy, I would like to say that if you plan well, you will still be able to cook or heat your stored foods. It isn’t difficult to store enough fuel, such as alcohol or charcoal, to cook foods. Also, there is a way to use something called a ” hay box”, which is sort of like a crock pot, only without electricity. Check out the simplylivingsmart.com website to find out about secondary sources of cooking. I don’t represent them, I just really like they site for that kind of information.

  • Like the info. One problem I have with food storage is the size of the cans.I think that smaller size portions (feeds 2-4 people )is more practical as once the number 10 cans are open, they should be consumed soon as possible to avoid spoilage. Also, the foods should be ready to eat out of the can(such as chili, vegetables,meats(tuna,chicken,beef etc. ) as there could come a time where there will be no means to heat or cook the food. While the dehydrated and freeze-dried are great and have their place,one should prepare for both cases. Thanks.

  • Wow, great site! I am totally overwhelmed when it comes to this subject…and live with guilt. I think currently we have about a month supply of peanut butter, some top ramen noodles and some water jugs in the basement. Pitiful, I know.

    I am definitely going to read your site and try to implement your ideas. Thanks for putting all of this together.

  • Jodi


    Don’t feel overwhelmed! Just set a monthly budget you want to allocate towards food storage and start working your way through the BabySteps. We were very overwhelmed when we started too, but breaking it into small steps has really helped it to feel achievable for us.

  • I am so happy i found this website. I’ve been looking for an easy to follow steps to get started with my Food storage..or at least a website that i can frequently check out to help me get started. I mean, i have started a few like 5 sacks of rice, some flour, sugar and salt but the canned goods i keep on using and have a hard time replacing…honestly i feel overwhelmed.

  • RP

    Thank you Julie I am now fearing that my very skinny body would only survive for 1hour and 19minutes after an emergency before it consumed itself.

    Sleep has now been replaced with anxiety induced seizures and panic attacks…

    Time to start my food storage.

    And now I know how 😉
    Merci beaucoup, arigatou gozaimashita, thank you!

  • jweiss08

    No problem. We are getting ready to add tons more research. We have found it is just so much easier to share and talk about it with people then to sit there and just be overwhelmed.

  • Emily

    This site is awesome! Thanks for sending me the link. You’re so great. Thanks!

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