Washington, District of Columbia

Prepper's Guide

The Ultimate Emergency Checklist

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Be it a global pandemic or extreme weather event, it can be difficult if not impossible to predict when disaster will strike. Even if you are a seasoned survivalist. If an emergency situation should occur in Washington, DC, it is imperative that you have a plan in place for your household.

The best place to start in formulating an emergency plan is with a checklist.

In the event that Washington loses power, you aren't able to leave your home, or someone in your group falls ill or gets injured, a properly-equipped household will help avoid further inflaming the situation.

Here is a list of all the essential items to have on your emergency checklist.

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Toolkit and Emergency Supplies:

From duct tape to extra batteries, you never know what kind of simple tools and equipment you might need. Here are some things you should always have in your home:

  • Multi-tool - A multi-purpose tool is a must in an emergency as it minimizes the amount of supplies you'll need. The Leatherman Skeletool CX Multi-Tool includes: premium steel knife blade, pliers, wire cutters, bottle opener, and a large bit driver.

  • Sharpal 6-in-1 Pocket Knife Sharpener - In addition to being a useful and effective knife sharpener, this Sharpal tool also includes a fire starter and emergency whistle.
  • Duct tape - When in doubt, use duct tape. Duct tape can be a life saver in a whole multitude of situations. Order a roll of Duck Max Strength duct tape for heavy-duty hold.
  • Paracord - You might not realize it but having a strong piece of rope is a key item to add to your emergency toolkit. The Titan SurvivorCord paracord can be used for anything from hanging laundry to walking the dog.

  • Monofilament fishing line - This isn't just used for reeling in dinner. Fishing line can be used in a first aid kit, to repair clothing or as a tie for building a shelter. Berkley Super Strong Trilene Fishing Line is sturdy and affordable.
  • Emergency candles - During emergency situations, there's always a chance you'll lose power. Sterno's 115+ Hour Candle is long burning and efficient. You never know how long you'll need an alternative source of light.
  • Matches - When power is lost and your lighters are low on butane, have a backup plan. Purchase a box of GreenLight Diamond Strike matches.
  • Fire-starting kit - If you are without a heat source, being able to build a fire is an imperative skill. Make the process hassle-free with the Friendly Swede Easy-Grip Firestarter.
  • Emergency tinder - As a backup, stock up on other fire-starting resources. Campers swear by Coghlan's Emergency Tinder.

  • Magnifying glass - It may sound gimmicky but with the proper technique, a magnifying glass can help you get a fire started. The Carson MagniFlip is heralded by survivalists and is also great for reading, close inspection, and a variety of other tasks.
  • Extra batteries - For the items in your home that run on battery power, make sure you have backups. AmazonBasics makes all varieties of batteries at a fair price.
  • Rescue signals/signaling mirror - If you are ever lost in a remote area, an emergency signal to notify passers-by of your whereabouts will come in handy. The UST See-Me Waterproof LED Emergency Light will hold up in tough conditions, is visible for nearly 3.5 miles on a dark (and clear) night, and provides light for up to 17 hours.
  • Whistle - A no-fail way to signal someone. The Shoreline Marine Safety Whistle is loud, easy to find if lost because of its bright orange coloration, and will work in wet or dry conditions.
  • LifeStraw Personal Water Filter - Don’t ever go without water. This lightweight and packable product from Lifestraw can filter 1,000 gallons of water, removing bacteria, parasites, and microplastics. If you find yourself without clean water to drink, this product could save your life.

  • Water purification tablets - Access to clean, safe-to-drink water is of utmost importance. If you don't have clean water to drink, the Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets will make unclean water suitable to drink within 35 minutes.

  • Safety pins - Safety pins aren't just something to let accumulate at the bottom of your junk drawer. Add the Officepal safety pins to your survival kit for clothing repair and first aid.
  • Large tarp - If you are at risk of exposure out in the wilderness, a proper tarp could save your life. Tarps make for an excellent shelter and can protect your gear from the elements. The B-Air Grizzly Tarp is lightweight but extremely durable making it a great, packable option for emergencies.
  • Space blanket - When things get chilly, wrap yourself up in an emergency blanket. The ANMEILU Emergency Thermal Blanket helps prevent hypothermia by locking in 90% of your body's heat. In extreme sun, the blanket can provide life-saving reflection.
  • Rain/winter jacket - Weather conditions can change on a dime and you can never predict when they'll be working against you. Make sure you always have a suitable jacket. Columbia has an impressive selection of waterproof rain jackets for men and women that are made with high-quality materials and will get the job done (without breaking the bank).
  • Emergency poncho - Don't rely solely on your rain jacket. Ponchos are highly packable and reliable in the event of a downpour. Buy a pack of FROGG TOGGS ponchos for your whole group.
  • Trekking poles - If you're caught in a sticky situation on the hiking trails, you might need some support. Montem Trekking Poles will provide you that extra stability.
  • LifeStraw Personal Water Filter - Don’t ever go without water. This lightweight and packable product from Lifestraw can filter 1,000 gallons of water, removing bacteria, parasites, and microplastics. If you find yourself without clean water to drink, this product could save your life.


If you have any other life-saving survivalist supplies that you swear by, comment below and we might add it to our list:

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Food Checklist:

If you are unable to leave your home or advised not to, make sure you have enough food stocked up to last you for at least a few weeks. Canned and non-perishable foods are cabinet essentials, as well as non-meat sources of protein. Here's our list (and make sure you have a can opener!):

  • Canned meats (tuna, chicken)
  • Canned vegetables (green beans, peas, carrots)
  • Longer-lasting vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash)
  • Canned fruits (berries, pears, peaches)
  • Canned soups
  • Canned juices
  • Peanut butter
  • Jams and jellies
  • Salt, pepper, spices, and herbs
  • Condiments
  • Crackers

  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts and trail mix
  • Cereals and oatmeal
  • Protein and granola bars
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Longer-lasting milks (oat milk, cashew milk, almond milk)
  • Electrolyte drinks (Gatorade, Powerade)
  • Coffee and tea
  • Baby food (if needed)
  • Comfort food (snacks and sweets)

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Pro Tip: Hunting for food

An alternative way to keep your freezer filled with protein is to go hunting.

North American game ranges from whitetail deer to wild hogs, so there isn't any shortage of high-quality meat to be hunted. Be sure to consult District of Columbia's hunting regulations, permit requirements, and seasonal schedule before stepping afield.

Hunting your own meat is also a sustainable and health-conscious way to feed your family. Wild game is fully unprocessed and isn't loaded with antibiotics, so you know you are getting fresh and nutritionally-rich protein. Skipping out on the factory-farmed meats is also a lot more eco-friendly.

When the meat section is cleared-out during crisis, you can have the peace of mind that your freezer is full.


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First Aid Kit:

If someone in your group falls ill or gets injured, have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand. Your kit should include:

  • Bandages of various sizes
  • Gauze
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Tweezers
  • Disposable gloves
  • Burn/sting relief ointment
  • Aspirin

The Be Smart Get Prepared First Aid Kit includes the majority of our recommended emergency supplies. You, or someone in your group, could get injured in a dangerous situation. To clean up and correctly dress wounds, you will need gauze, antiseptic wipes or antibiotic ointments, and properly-sized bandages. If someone gets a splinter or a tick, you're going to need tweezers. And make sure you're doing all of your wound care while wearing a pair of disposable gloves to avoid contact with germs, blood, or other bodily fluids.

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Medication:

Make sure your medicine cabinet is well-stocked. Having the necessary medication for all members of your household can help avoid a potentially disastrous health event.

  • NSAIDS (Motrin, Advil) - Always have these in case you or a member of your household is dealing with pain of any kind such as headaches, cramping or injury.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) - A fever can be deadly. Keep fever-reducers and pain relievers like Tylenol on hand in case someone in your group develops an illness such as the flu.
  • Cough medicine (DayQuil, Robitussin) - Having a cough-suppressing medication available will help alleviate symptoms.
  • Antihistamines (Zyrtec) - An allergic reaction can mean life or death for some. Antihistamines will provide relief.
  • Thermometer (iProven Thermometer) - A pivotal tool. Monitor a person's illness by regularly checking their temperature until it returns to normal.

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