Emergency Preparedness

Most recent update 3/16/20
[Link to video on how to properly remove disposable gloves under “During Local Outbreaks”]

The following information is from the website ThePrepared.com as well as the CDC, WHO, and NIH.

Here’s a downloadable multi-tab Excel spreadsheet I’ve created for preparing for local emergencies. It has tabs for home prep, go-bags (3 levels), first aid kits (4 levels), pet go-bags, and automobile bags. It now includes updated info for the Wuhan coronavirus.

DOWNLOAD: Emergency Preparedness Spreadsheet (Public)



Get the following absolute essentials before taking any other steps:

  • WATER: Store a source of 72 hours worth of potable water is preferable, but if space is tight then get a filter).
    —Water will no doubt be available (although my county posted on social media to be prepared for water and power outages), but water is so important one should have at least 72 hours-worth on hand (calculate one gallon/per person/per day. Don’t forget pets.).
  • MEDICATIONS: Order a minimum of 2 weeks of any essential medications you’re taking.
  • HYGIENE: Store 2 weeks of toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, Castile soap.
  • DISINFECTANTS: Buy hand sanitizer wipes (At least 60% alcohol), detergent, bleach, rubbing alcohol, and everything else you will need. 
  • MASKS: Buy 14 NIOSH-approved N95 or P100 respirators (or surgical paper masks, if there’s nothing else.)
  • GLOVES—Wear 5mm nitrile gloves—Gloves may be even more important than respirators because viruses can live for hours on smooth surfaces. Do not touch your face.
  • FOOD: Buy 2 weeks of non-perishable food.
    Epicurious has a great list of emergency pantry stables.

    Use in combination with Epicurious’ 2-week all-pantry meal plan.
    —If you have an off-grid freezer you can freeze both meats and microwaveable meals (helpful if you’re sick), and can also freeze bread, hard cheeses, butter, fruits, and vegetables.

(Also see “If You’re Sick” in the next section.)

  • KEEP YOUR DISTANCE: Staying at least 6 feet away from other people (ie. “social distancing”) is the best way to avoid getting sick.
  • WASH HANDS: Wash hands for 20 seconds with warm soapy water—upon returning home, after going to the bathroom, before eating, after sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing. If soap and water aren’t available, use 60%+ alcohol wipes.
  • DON’T TOUCH: Teach yourself to not touch your eyes, nose, mouth, or food, except directly after hand washing.
  • COVER SNEEZES/COUGHS: If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. If you use your elbows, the clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more.
  • DISINFECT: Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces—phones, credit cards, keyboards, tablets…doorknobs, cabinet pulls, counters…toilet lids/handles, sink faucet handles…light switches…hard furniture surfaces…automobile steering wheels, dashboard buttons/touch screens, door handles, hatchback and trunk latches.
    —Method: Use a 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water. Allow the solution to be in contact with the surface for at least five minutes. Rinse and air-dry.
    —Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances, AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated surfaces when you can’t immediately wash your hands.
  • MASK UP—How to properly put on and take off a disposable respirator also Learn how to adjust it accurately.
    —Masks that protect YOU when in public during a local outbreak are NIOSH-approved respirator-types. (use NIOSH-approved 3M N95 or P100 disposables or a half-facepiece reusable respirator with replaceable P100 filters)Men with beards will have to shave. Do not touch the inside of the mask when removing it. Wash hands before *and* after removal and disposal of mask. (CDC general article on respirators)
    —Masks that protect OTHERS from you when you’re sick—(Those disposable blue paper types).
  • WEAR GLOVES—Wear 5mm nitrile gloves—(Video on how to properly take of gloves)—Gloves may be even more important than respirators because viruses can live for hours on smooth surfaces. Do not touch your face.
    —Use when shopping, using gasoline pump, and all other outside activities that put you in contact with contaminated surfaces.
    —This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you if you are 6 feet or more away from people who are coughing/sneezing, BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. 
  • PROTECT YOUR EYES: Don’t forget that your eyes are just as much of a “front door” for the virus as your mouth and nose. Wear goggles.
  • AVOID CROWDS—Think about avoiding crowds, travel, meetings, gatherings. Shelter-in-place at home, if needed. Keep a ten-foot distance in public, if possible.
    —Get outside and breathe fresh air
    Eat healthy, balanced meals (include foods high in vitamin C, B, and D3 or take supplements)
    —Get exercise
    —Get enough sleep 
    —Drink a lot of water
    —Avoid sugar and alcohol if possible


  • ISOLATE yourself and warn family members.
  • CALL your doctor.
  • PROTECT OTHERS: If you go to a hospital or other healthcare facility, wear a mask, goggles, and nitrile gloves. Don’t take them off unless a pro tells you
    If you don’t have proper protective gear, use anything possible, such as a bandana or t-shirt over your mouth and nose while wearing sunglasses and winter gloves.
  • WASH HANDS: Wash hands for 20 seconds with warm soapy water—upon returning home, after going to the bathroom, before eating, after sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing. If soap and water aren’t available, use 60%+ alcohol wipesYou can also make your own effective hand sanitizer.
    —Boost your immune system and shorten illness with Host Defense Argarikon capsules. (NIH study, confirming this mushroom’s broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial activity,)
    —Kill viruses in throat by gargling daily for 15 seconds—Listerine is okay, but Betadine Gargle mouthwash is more effective at killing viruses. (NIH study, confirming Betadine’s anti-viral qualities)
    —Block viruses and shorten duration  with Zinc lozenges, such as Cold-Eeze. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx.
    —Rinse out your sinuses with a saline solution to flush out virus-laden mucus—use once a day during a local outbreak or illness, using a product like NeilMed Sinus Rinse. (NIH study on efficacy of saline nasal rinses)
    —Eat healthy, balanced meals (include foods high in vitamin C, B, and D3 or take supplements)
    Get outside and breathe fresh air
    —Get exercise
    —Get enough sleep
    —Drink a lot of water
    —Avoid sugar and alcohol if possible
  • REPLACE ELECTROLYTES: If you’re running a fever and dehydrated, take electrolyte replacement tablets
  • STOCK OTC MEDS: Keep pain relievers, cough suppressants (for dry coughs), and expectorants (for wet/productive coughs) on hand.
  • WEAR PROTECTIVE ITEMS: If you venture out using protective gear—
    —Wash your hands before removing that gear
    —Be careful of what/where you’re touching as you remove the gear
    Rewash your hands after taking off the gear
    —For extreme situations (such as working with or caring for many sick people), wear a
    Tyvek coverall as well as goggles, gloves, and a face mask


  • ACCURATE NEWS SOURCES: Read legitimate sources so you can make decisions based on accurate, rational news (See list at top of page). This epidemic already has enough actual cause for concern —- there’s no need to make things worse with fake news!
  • PRESCRIPTIONS: Try to get at least 2 weeks of any prescriptions you use. (3 months is even better)
  • OTC MEDICATIONS: Stock up on commonly-used medications
  • Prepare for stomach problems that may arise by buying Imodium AD or similar products.
  • QUARANTINE PREP: Be able to shelter in your home for at least two weeks — 90 days is even better—without leaving for supplies or outside help.
    —If we have a significant amount of transmission here in the US, you’ll want the option of avoiding other people and public places. Or, if things get really dire, it may be recommended or required that you stay in your home for a period of time.
    —Be able to clean and disinfect the space where you (and possibly multiple others) will be living for an extended period.
    —Plan for entertainment and distractions—Unplug from the news and social media, and give your eyes and mind a rest. Stock digital books, paper books, jigsaw puzzles, chess, checkers, playing cards, board games, computer and console games, download movies, buy DVDs, play music, paint, sew, knit, garden, go on walks or hikes.