I checked various websites – including the CDC – and compiled a list of preparation materials.
Be prepared to take kids out of school… and to be prepared to have another option in case childcare or schools are shut down.
Be prepared for banking and credit services to be down… so you may need to use cash as things escalate into crisis.
Public places may quickly become unsafe, especially in large cities. Even being just a few days ahead of the masses can be huge… but if you have to go into public places, be cautious, especially if it is an epidemic. Have an option other than public transportation.
Create a Family communication plan. The chances of being all together when you realize the time has come to act is unlikely. Cell service may be interrupted. Know where you will meet. Know where you will leave notes in case you get separated.
Given this fact, that we are likely to not be home, where we are safest when a crisis hits, I believe it is wise to have a”get home” bag in your vehicles. This bag is exclusively to give you to tools to get from those places 20 or less miles from home, to home.
Consider especially footwear. You may be wearing dress shows inappropriate for walking miles home if you car is not functioning. Think some water, some food, maybe something to sleep in (most people unprepared will be pretty lucky to walk more than 12 miles in a day). Light sources, some very basic first aid, socks, maybe some rain gear. Of course, a knife or multi-tool is a good idea as well.
Honestly, you know yourself best. Consider if you needed to walk home from work or town, what would you need?
Stock at least two weeks of water and non-perishable food items. A month is better. Remember everyone in your home. Obviously a year is even better, but that is quite a commitment financially and in storage.
Water: According to ready.gov you need about a gallon of water per person per day. You can survive on less for a long time, but that is best. That is quite a bit! In my family of 7, it’s 35-50 gallons a week. Though, if you have access to another source of water, you can purchase or make some pretty good filters for that water. Further, bleach, purification tablets, and boiling (a rolling boil for 2 minutes) can also make water much more safe. Very little natural source water is safe without purification in the US.
Food: if you knew for sure that you were going to need food for the next two weeks, starting today, this might be easy. Dry cereal, canned foods, peanut butter, cans of juice, dried fruit, etc are all good choices. However, most of even these expire in weeks, or in the case of canned good – about a year. Another option to consider is MRE’s (meals ready to eat) which typically last about 5 years safely. Maybe best of all is Freeze dried food, which can last for as long as 25 years. And, honey lasts essentially forever 😉
You will need to take into account preparation of the food – you will need a way to heat most foods… avoid eating raw meats in particular.
And you may need to stock up on some salt for multiple purposes.
Medical needs: (obviously all prescription meds that are life-and-death – I would think at least two months of these would be a good idea if you can convince your doctor to do it.) medicine for fevers, pain relief, anti-diarrheal etc.
Heat – if you live in an area that has cold conditions, or if you think conditions might change, you should keep in mind fire, blankets, sleeping bags, etc.
Others: can opener (manual) garbage bags, vitamins, thermometer, cleansing supplies, soap, alcohol cleansers, fire starters, gas for grills, batteries, flashlights, portable radio (hand cranked or solar powered are good), good knives and tools.
Next levels would include firearms, ammo, a generator… and then things can go on as far as you want to be taken… but that is beyond my interests for this article.