The Last-Minute Before Disaster Strikes: 20 Things You Should Do If You Have Time

No one should wait until the last second to prepare for a disaster, but even if you’re hardcore prepper with tons of supplies, there are still certain things you’ll want to do when a disaster is imminent: charge your devices, top off your gas tank, fill your bathtubs with water, and so forth. The purpose of this article is to remind you of any last-minute things you’ll want to take care of while you still have time.

Of course, most of these don’t apply to a sudden and unexpected disaster like a tornado ravaging your neighborhood or an EMP knocking out power across the city. Rather, they’re for times when you have at least a few hours left to prepare. For example, a hurricane is headed in your direction, the stock market is in free fall, or your country has declared war on another powerful country.

In case of a scenario like that, here are the top 20 things you should do if you have time.

1. Charge all Your Devices

In most disasters, a power outage is almost a given. While playing Candy Crush won’t be a priority, there are still a number of reasons you would want to have your devices charged. Charge them to 100%, and turn them off until you absolutely need them.

2. Withdraw Your Money from the Bank

At the height of an economic crash, the banks may not allow anyone to withdraw money. Therefore, if you have advance notice, take it out while you still can.

3. Fill Your Bathtubs Full of Water

Depending on the disaster you are facing, drinking water may be in short supply. One way to quickly stockpile a decent-sized water source is to fill up all the bathtubs, sinks, and large containers in your home. Just make sure to clean them first. You may also want to caulk the plug shut beforehand to avoid the risk of it leaking and draining your water supply.

4. Fill up Your Gas Tanks

Gasoline is another commodity that will disappear quickly in a disaster. If you have advance notice, fill up as many gas tanks as you can. If you have any portable gas cans, fill those up as well.

5. Gather Your Family

Any loved ones that you care about protecting should be gathered in one spot. This may mean taking your kids out of school, getting grandma out of the nursing home, or anything in-between depending on who it is you want to keep safe.

6. Load Your Weapons

If the wolf comes growling, an unloaded firearm will do you no good. Get out your firearm, load it, and keep it handy. Just make sure to keep a very careful eye on it if you have little ones running around.

7. Board Up Your Windows

In a disaster, your home is your fortress. Start turning it into a fortress by boarding up your windows, as they will be the weakest point that intruders will target if they try to break in.

8. Round up Batteries

Batteries have a limitless number of applications, especially if the power is out. Round up any batteries you have and, if the option is available, go to the store and buy more.

9. Fill Your Prescriptions

For many people, prescription drugs are essential for survival. However, prescription drugs also present a unique challenge for those trying to stock up supplies while at the same time avoiding a visit from the Drug Enforcement Agency. If you are given advance notice of an impending disaster, be sure to fill all your prescriptions you can and make the most of what you’ve got.

10. Get Your Bug Out Bags Ready

You and everyone in your family should have bug out bags ready to go in the event that they are needed. Keep them packed and by the door.

11. Check with Your Neighbors

In the event of a disaster, it’s easy to be distrustful. Sometimes this can be a good thing. However, people you already know and trust will present more benefit than they do risk. Check in with your friends and neighbors. See if they need anything, and if there is anything they can help you with, don’t be afraid to ask. The old adage that there is safety in numbers rings true in a disaster situation.

12. Have Everyone Sleep in the Same Room

This is an especially good tip to consider if you have children. By having everyone sleep in the same room, it will be much easier to keep tabs on them at night. By the same token, it’s important to stick close together in the daytime as well. This is also a good idea during a winter power outage. It’s easier to keep one room warm than the entire house.

13. Gather First Aid Supplies

Injury and disasters go hand in hand. Before a disaster hits, you will want to make sure your first aid supplies are easily accessible should the need for them arise. In a worst-case-scenario, you may not have a lot of time to get to them.

14. Do Your Laundry

If the power goes out, it may be a while before you have clean clothes again. Do your laundry so you will have as much clean clothing available as possible. Or just learn to do laundry without power.

15. Set Your Freezer to the Coldest Setting

If the power goes out, the food in your freezer won’t last long. Set your freezer to the coldest setting to delay your food spoiling as long as you can.

16. Freeze Gallon Bags of Water

Once your freezer warms up too much, ice chests will be the only way to preserve your frozen food. By freezing gallon bags of water ahead of time, you will have plenty of ice to keep them cool for a few days at least.

17. Store Items in the Dishwasher

If the impending disaster is of the flood-producing variety, store items you don’t want to get water-damaged inside your dishwasher, as it is completely waterproof.

18. Put Out Some Rain Barrels

If a disaster is looming, it’s best to start preparing your water collection as soon as possible. Even if the water is from your gutter and unfit to drink, it can still be used to flush your toilets.

19. Build a Shelter Within Your Home

If you live in a cold climate and don’t have a wood stove, regulating the temperature of your home when the power goes out is going to be a concern. One way to avoid hypothermia is to build a shelter within your shelter. If you have a tent, set it up. Fill it full of blankets and pillows. Battery powered heaters and/or candles may also be used; just exercise extreme caution in order to avoid a fire.

20. Cook Some Food

Quickly cook some food that will last you for a few days without power. Baked goods such as bread, cake, and cookies are great because they don’t need to be refrigerated. Use your electric appliances and running water while you still can.

What are some other things you should do when a disaster is about to strike? Leave a comment and let us know!