A few of the facts I have faced in my life have made me a bit of a prepper (and I use that term fairly loosely). I was in the US Military for a long time, and never really needed to worry about where my next meal was going to come from. The Dining Facility (D-FAC) was always available, and I always had enough money that I could go out to eat whenever I wanted to. It always seemed to me that we had to much stuff in the Supply Room, and I was always getting various office supplies for work use. What surprised me was what else we had in the supply room, which I only found out after I transferred into supply myself (more on that later). After getting out of the Military, I went to school in New York City. While in school there, I survived what was a most horrific situation, Hurricane Sandy. I literally lost everything in that storm. Vehicle, personal belongings, food, EVERYTHING!!! I woke up to a soaked bed, and saw seawater coming in through the cracks around the still closed door. I grabbed what little I had still dry, and climbed up 2 flights of stairs. I was safe from water coming for the moment at least. I slept on the top floor landing with another couple. They got off lucky. Their second floor apartment suffered only a foot of water. My 1st floor apartment was completely underwater.
When the water receded, my front door was gone, ans was all my stuff. The whole building had been taken off it's foundation and moved about 6 inches. I was evicted immediately due to structural concerns. Fortunately, I had renters insurance, and my insurance agent was there to assess the damage. I had money in my account in a couple of hours. In 50 degree weather, I made the two mile walk to the Verazano Bridge, which connects Staten Island (where I was living at the time) to Brooklyn, close to where my school was in Queens. I walked across the bridge, freezing as I went. Once across, I found a bus that went right to the subway that could take me to school. I moved into a hotel close to my school with the help of FEMA, and was back at school the next week. This whole ordeal taught me to not be reliant on others for their generosity, because generosity has limits. As quickly as I could, I moved into a new place and finished school, then moved to the next school for me to attend, I am still there now, and graduate late next Spring.
Looking back at my supply room, I wondered why we had certain things stocked up there, now I know why, and I am going to try to tell you, as best as I possibly can, why they are so important.
1. Water: No brainer here. Your body will only last 2 to maybe 3 days without water.
2. Food: Again, a no brainer. We need food to keep moving.
3. Tools, Hand: We had saws, hammers, nails, squares, etc. Lots of stuff to build whatever we needed. With a little training and some ingenuity, we could make anything we needed. Also, we had only hand tools, which means that even without power, we could build whatever we needed. It may take some time, but it is humanly possible.
4. Sporting Equipment: A great way to blow off steam, keep up with your physical training, as well as keep up morale in a rough situation.
5. Office Equipment: We would need to keep up records as best as we can until such time as we can get more supplies in. Pens, paper, pencisl, folders, etc. would be crucial in those regards. Also, these can help keep little hands occupied, and they can be used for home-schooling when the power is out as well.
6. Books, Movies, Boardgames: Anything to entertain yourselves while you wait for the disaster to be over. It also helps keep your mind (and especially your kids minds) off the doom and gloom all around during a disaster.
7. Radios: To keep in touch with the outside world. Some people go for HAM radios, which is fine. Personally, I would keep those on listen mode rather than transmit my location until I knew exactly what was going on. AM/FM radios and Police Scanners seem to be your best bets, especially if they can be recharged.
8. Weapons: Of course, I was in a military supply room. We had weapons. I'm not saying that you need to go right out and purchase a specific weapon. I tend to lean towards caution. Find someone that teaces firearm safety, and learn for yourself what is safe, and what isn't. You can also find out what you are comfortable using to defend your home and your family, and that may be nothing. I'm just saying that you need to educate yourself about weapons, and how to use them properly if you are going to have them, especially around your children.