Disaster Kit – Part 2 (shelter in place)

In part 1, I covered the disaster kit for bugging out. In part 2 I will be covering the basics for sheltering in.

The scenario

A major disaster just hit your area and has taken out power and landlines. The water supply is still up, but running on backup power. You have spent years building that model railroad in the basement and there is no way in h*ll you are leaving it for looters to ransack. Time to batten down the hatches and prepare to shelter in place.

There are plenty of scenarios where sheltering in place, is the most sensible choice. It’s likely that the roads are closed or overcrowded with other people trying to leave the area. Scenarios where you expect the disturbance to be over relatively quickly, like weathering a storm and the aftermath, are also prime candidates for using the shelter in place tactic.

The following is what I believe you will need (partly compiled from ready.gov and redcross.org):

If you already read part one of this guide, you will notice that some items are on both lists. This makes it possible to read them independently.

  • First and foremost, fill up on water as long as the resource is still available. All containers capable of holding potable water should be filled to the brink. Needed amount of water: One gallon per person (about 4 liters) per day (minimum 14-day supply for sheltering in place)
  • Food: Non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (14-day supply for sheltering in place)
  • A way to prepare food (camp stove or similar, remember fuel aswell)
  • Headlamp and/or flashlight (I recommend a good headlamp to keep your hands free)
  • Candles or other illumination source
  • Plywood panels for covering windows and/or doors (mostly useful in storms and for complicating entry from the outside)
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (30-day supply) and medical items
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Cell phone with chargers (for mains and for the car, you might not be driving anywhere, but if mains power is unavailable, a car battery might save you)
  • Powerbank for charging phones
  • Extra cash
  • Map(s) of the area (preferably with points of interest like water sources already plotted)
  • Duct tape and plastic sheeting (for sealing up windows and/or doors from harmful particles)
  • Alcohol based disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach (usable for disinfectant)
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is useful for guarding against infectious or otherwise harmful agents, but keep in mind that most are single use and prolonged exposure to chemicals or radiation will likely mean that your PPE is less effective or has no effect at all
  • When sheltering in place hypothermia is usually less of a concern, but if you have a heatsource that works off grid a small stockpile of fuel for that heatsouce might prove invaluable, especially in cold climates. Most people will already have warm clothes and blankets available in their homes
  • If you have babies, children or animals in the house consider special needs (formula, diapers, petfood etc.)

I intentionally left out weapons from the list even though some kind of defensive capability might be sensible to have. Where I live there is very strict regulation on weapons of any kind, even simple “weapons” such as slingshots, clubs or long bladed knives are illegal to own. If you decide to acquire items for self defense, be sure to obey local legislation, and keep guns or similarly dangerous items locked safely away from curious children.

As with part one the list above is by no means complete, but represents what I try to have available for me and my family in case of emergency. Depending on the type of disaster and the climate you live in the most valuable items might differ from the list above.

What do you believe needs to be in a “shelter-in-place kit”?