Emergency Preparedness Check List For Beginners

Do you want to be better prepared for emergencies but not sure where to start? In this blog post we’ve put together a beginners check list for you to consider. Maybe you might have forgotten something or maybe you don’t event know where to start… In either case after your done, you’ll have a good road map for your emergency preparedness journey ahead.

“It’s only rationality, it’s not craziness!”

There are a few loud voices that decry the prepper mindset. Don’t listen to them! Throughout history humanity has gone from challenge to challenge. When times are good its easy to get complacent. However, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, there will be challenges ahead. Some insignificant, others more serious.


First up there are a number of things you can start to tackle on your emergency preparedness journey. They are three simple foundational goals that each of us should aspire too. Sure we could add more items to the list, but we’d only be complicating matters. Keeping it simple at the beginning will ensure for manageable strategy ahead.

The Four Simple Foundations

  • Personal Health – Get fit and stay fit. You will be in a much better position to face challenges if your are healthy – both mentally and physically.
  • Healthy community – Don’t go solo if you can avoid it. We work so much better as a team. You will need a shoulder to lean on when the hard times hit.
  • Financial Stability – Work hard and invest in the right things. Without a good income it will be challenging to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. Without finances you wont by able to get the resources your need to.
  • Security – Having a secure place to live and stay in will immediately reduce the odds of a crime being perpetrated against you. Security creates an environment of safety for you and your family and ensures the protection of your assets.

There are small-scale threats that could happen to anyone of us at any stage. Threats such as a car accident, home invasion, job lay-off or illness. These threats can be just as dangerous to us as a large-scale threat. Working on the four foundational goals above will ensure that you’ll be in the best possible position to meet both the small-scale and large-scale threats.

Next, think about the large-scale threats that you’ll need to prepare for. Below is a list of threats that can impact a whole communities, cities, and even nations. You’ll need a different plan of attack for each of these. Identify your threats. In the next step we’ll look at making a plan for each threat.

Once you’ve identified your threats you need to make a plan for each threat. We’ll keep it simple for each one. Many of them will have similar requirements – We’ll list these first up. After, we’ll list the unique challenges for each threat below.

The Similar Requirements For Every Situation

Clean drinking water is one of the most essential items that you’ll need good access to. You can’t go more than 3 days without it. If your water is dirty with pollutants or bacteria you’ll just make yourself sick. See our water storage and filtration gear here.

You’ll need a food supply that will last at least two weeks for each person in your family. Ideally, you’ll consider a food supply that will last much longer. The food must be able to store long-term without access to refrigeration. Alternatively, you’ll need to produce your own food. See our freeze-dried food & vegetable seed packs here.

The shelter offers protection from the elements and wildlife. You’ll need to plan for a light and mobile shelter for when you are on the go and more durable and protective shelter options for the more severe threats. See our lightweight shelter options here.

Fire offers warmth, light and heat for cooking and boiling. It will also lift your spirits when you are miserable cold and wet. Fire is one of the survival essentials. We recommend having several options to light a fire. Have a backup of a backup etc. See our survival fire lighting options here.

Light helps you see in the dark. Without good lighting, it’s hard to use the time you have in the evenings. It enables you to cook, navigate, defend, hunt, work and read – to name a few things – all in the dark. See our lighting options here.

Protective gear is essential for a number of situations. Applications can include pandemics through to NBC situations. The recent pandemic has brought this type of equipment to the forefront. See our protective gear here.

It doesn’t matter if you are indoors or outdoors, who doesn’t want to be able to eat a nutritious hot cooked meal every now and then. Food preparation and the ability to cook food correctly are essential for a healthy diet – you also want to keep harmful bacteria at bay. Check out our cooking gear here.

Don’t get lost! Anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time in the wilderness has probably experienced the “am I lost” moment. Make sure you have the adequate navigational gear to protect yourself. Gear might include maps, compasses and more.

Hunting isn’t the first thing you might think of when prepping for the unknown so ask yourself this… what happens if I run out of food? Having the tools to hunt will be your backup if it hits the fan. Check out our hunting equipment here.

Keeping track of the time helps you plan ahead. You’ll know how many hours you have in your day, you can also plan to meet someone at a certain time. While AuPrep doesn’t stock anything yet we hope to have an assortment of time-keeping tools very soon!

There are a few reasons why optics are helpful but by far the most important is the ability to see and scout locations from a distance i.e., spot what you’re hunting or keep an eye on a threat at a safe distance. Having a good optic lens is a must!

In a survival situation ‘climbing’ is about the ability to traverse the terrain. Even if you don’t have any mountainous areas in your immediate vicinity, having climbing gear ready to go gives you more freedom and flexibility to roam new areas!

Knives and tools are incredibly important. All campsites need tools to be functional. All meals need knives to prepare the food (unless you just want to live on berries). See our selected range of knives and tools here.

Bags help us organise and carry our gear. Having the right back for the right job is the goal. Think about the situations you’ll face and the gear you need to take with you. We have some great organisers, bags and backpacks for you!

Don’t get a hole in your socks if you can avoid it. The essential repair and maintenance tools include duct tape, a sewing repair kit, glue, thread, spare buttons and spare material. AuPrep doesn’t stock these items yet, but watch this space!

When we think of ‘survival’ tech we think of communications, power collection and storage. There is a heap of another great tech out there. AuPrep is working hard to add all sorts of tech to our store.

The Unique Requirements For Every Threat

There are a number of steps to plan and prepare for a bushfire threat. For a complete resource, we really like this advice provided by the NSW government. With that said here are the basic dot points:

You want to have made all your decisions and be prepared in advance for a fire!! Do be forced to make last-minute decisions.

What equipment might I need? That depends on your plan to either ‘stay and fight’ or ‘go’. The most important equipment besides transport is – protective equipment and drinking water. You’ll need a safe place to shelter if you decide to stay. Every second counts in a hazardas fire event.

Preparing for a food shortage takes time and requires a multiple prong strategy. A good strategy will consider the quantity of food required per person, supply duration in days, nutrition requirements, storage environment including hygiene, and fall-back options.

The QLD government recommends 7 days of food for an Emergency Pantry List. The NSW government recommends a 14-day Emergency Pantry. As the general grocery store only stocks 3 days’ worth of food we recommend planning on 14 days as a bare minimum and 4-6 months for the advanced prepper.

What food should I store and rotate in my pantry? Dried and long life food (flour, rice, tin food, pasta, cereals, sugar, beans & peas, oats, honey, powdered milk), baby supplies (formula, pureed foods), drinks (water, electrolytes), pet food (dried and tin foods).

What other emergency food should I store? Freeze dried food has an incredibly long storage life – some reports are over 30 years. This food is light and stores incredible well.

Should I plan to produce my own food? Yes! Many preppers (including government organisations) keep vegetable seeds in refrigerated storage. You can also consider growing fruit trees, keeping laying hens, ducks, plus forage and hunting equipment.

Anything else? Consider other items you purchase regularly from the grocery store including toiletries, cleaning supplies. Other important item that you might want to consider is healthcare supplies.

Stranded: For the purpose of this threat we’ll define stranded as either lost or stuck somewhere in a broken down vehicle.

This threat is a little easier to prepper for. You should keep a ‘go bag’ or ‘bugout bag’ in your vehicle.

What should you keep in your vehicles go bag?

Basic essentials – Water, Snacks, Small First Aid Kit, Hat, Sunscreen, Compass, Jumper & Raincoat.

Advanced items – UHF radio, Spare Fuel, Tool Kit.

How to prepare for a storm is a well covered topic in Australia. See this resource produced by the NSW SES service – ‘8 Simple things you can do to prepare for a storm‘ and another resource about preparing for storms by the DFES’s SES WA. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Where should you shelter during a severe storm?
  • Could high wind or water cause damage to your safety or possessions? (Lose debris or vegetation, roof and gutter damage/maintenance, fallen trees blocking exit)
  • Could a power outage or lightning strike cause issues? (Medical equipment failure, communications, light, heating, fire etc).

Answering questions of what might go wrong in a storm will help you prepare your emergency storm plan.

In addition to a plan you should have adequate Emergency Supplies such as food, water, lighting, backup shelter and communications).

Australia’s National Security Services currently rate the risk of a terrorist attack in Australia as ‘probable‘. This rating can change. Advice under the current rating recommends that Australian’s “…exercise caution and be aware of events around them. If you see, hear or become aware of something suspicious or unusual, call the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.”

Beyond being aware and reporting suspicious activity what else can we do? Preparing for the threat of terrorism in any meaningful way is difficult as the threat could come in various shapes and forms – from a direct attack to an indirect attack (i.e. an attack on essential services in your region).

The best advice is to ‘know and rank the risks’ and make a plan for each accordingly.

Security Services currently rate the threat of a chemical, biological or radiological attack in Australia as ‘low‘. This is based on the premise that it is difficult for a terrorist to acquire and weaponise chemical, biological and radiological resources in Australia. 

Serious preppers like to cover all basis including CBRN threats. The probability of these threats must be assessed and weighted as CBRN safety equipment can be costly.

Floods tend to happen quickly, so being prepared well in advance is advisable. The ABC also have prepared an excellent flood preparation guide here. The Red Cross also offer an good how to guide here.

Flash floods can cause allot of damage and be dangerous to people and property. Here are some key points to consider when making your plans:

  • Your local council’s flood plan should show the location of problem areas, evacuation routes and relief centres. Make your stay/exit strategy with the help of this information.
  • Have the right equipment and supplies on hand. (In 2011 the city of Toowoomba was cut off when flood waters damaged the range crossing – shopping centre shelves were bare within 3 days – trucks were forced to find alternative routes into town).
  • Have a good supply of batteries for your hand-held radio, non-perishable food and clean water!!
  • Consider how you could make sand bags on short notice if needed.

Financial Collapse and hardship has happened and will happen again. The 1930’s Great Depression was one such event that should be a serious reminder to us all.

An excellent step by step guide on preparing for economic collapse has been put together on Wikihow.

The Bare Foot Investor is a great book about getting out of debt and planning for retirement. Many of the principles in this book will help you obtain economic freedom. In short – avoid debt so pay it off! Have a percentage of emergency funds put aside each week and work to a budget. Don’t have all your eggs in one basket – have investments, superannuation and cash.

A serious prepper will also keep a pool of supplies that can be used to barter with – such as alcohol, food, precious metals etc. These supplies become a currency in crisis.

As Plato’s famous War quote goes…

“Only the dead have seen the end of war”

War is not a probability, it’s inevitable – if not today, tomorrow. The big question is how can a civilian in Australia prepare to survive war. Answer: We can’t. In fact, I’d say no one can really prepare with any certainty.

Wikihow has prepared some thoughts on surviving a war and various prepper blogs and videos on the subject. However, no one with any authority has addressed the issue with any meaningful substance. You’ll need to do your own homework!

A few key thoughts:

  • Have shelter & avoid danger
  • Keep good supplies as war isn’t a friend of online shopping or deliveries.
  • Consider viable self-defence measures
  • Where will you gather your intel for real-time updates?

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