I’m not much of a prepper. I do have a bug-out bag in my car trunk, and I do have 25 pounds of rice in my cupboard. But the latter came from my friend Ron and the former comes from my being a proponent of being prepared for realistic emergencies.
Not just preppers but everyone needs to be prepared for the sort of disaster that is most likely to happen wherever they live. Don’t worry about the end of the world; worry about the end of your stable world! Earthquakes, wildfires, tornados, hurricanes, sub-zero temperatures with electricity loss, house fires, floods: these are the likely events that could make your life uncomfortable or hellish at some point in the future.
For any emergency, you should have a three-day supply of water, food (and pet food) for every member of your family, cash, life-saving medications, and a change of clothes. Duct tape and a couple of bandanas are good additions, too, with many possible uses. A spare leash for each pet. Even six-year-old kids can have the special emergency backpack in their closet with a favorite old toy stuffed inside, ready to go at a moment’s notice if need be. A small first aid kit, which I hope you won’t need, is a good addition to one of the adult’s backpacks.
Take photos of your insurance papers, birth certificates, family phone numbers (since cell phones store those for us, we don’t remember these any more, do we?) and other crucial papers; upload them to the cloud, in an account you won’t forget the password of when you’re panicked. Make sure there are pictures of the pets in there, too, in case you get separated in a dire emergency and need to make lost pet posters. Even if your phone runs out of charge, usually in serious emergencies, you can find somewhere to get online. (libraries, special Red Cross facilities, cafes.)
The US government has done a terrific job of putting up emergency preparation information. (And anyone can look at it, no matter your nationality.) Ready.gov September is a month we’re to think of this, and if you haven’t freshened the water and food in your supplies you collected last time I nagged you about this, it’s a good month to do that. (Scroll down and click "emergencypreparedness" among my blog topics for all my posts on this.)