For storm / earthquake / "ordinary" disaster preparation, I think we've learned from Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy that having those supplies in the basement--or anywhere belowground--isn't a good idea. The hospitals whose generators were in the basement LOST POWER. Hospitals!!!
Incredible. Of course, anyone whose stored food was downstairs in the basement also lost that, esp. on Staten Island or in northern New Jersey.
In the news out here the first weekend after Sandy first came ashore, it became widely known that our hospitals, most of which (on both sides of the Bay) are built within 1 mile of an earthquake fault (look at the topography and you'll see why), also
Having anything belowground is hard to arrange out here, since it's not the usual practice to build anything *with* a basement; you have to specially design it!
So those Bay Area hospitals whose emergency generators are in the underground parking, basement utility areas, etc., are now reconsidering their emergency plans, big time.
Anyone dependent on electrically powered medical equipment who doesn't have a generator *and* back-up fuel on hand is courting disaster.
Municipal and other regional disaster-response coordinators made announcements a few days after the hospital news came out--when so many people up North still didn't have power after 7 or 8 days--that Bay Area residents should plan on at least 5 to 7 days' worth
of water, medications, and other essential supplies (food that doesn't need cooking, for instance, like dried fruit, crackers, canned foods). Previous recommendations had been for 3 days' worth. (Don't forget to have a [basic] plan for sanitation.)
Remember pets in your disaster plan; not every human evacuation shelter will accept them, even after the horrible, heart-rending scenes from Katrina in 2005.
(OK, back away from the "Shelter" topic, Cynthia...slowly back away....) At a minimum, one carrier for each cat and a crate, leash, and collar for each dog. Be sure to crate-train your dog(s) as a matter of course, before
an emergency arises. That way, he'll seek out the crate naturally as a haven/refuge in time of need.
A minimum of 5 to 7 days of water, medications, and food for the pets, too.
Frankly, I had never heard the term "prepper" until the recent discussions here. I've always heard the term "survivalist" applied to the people who seemed to be under discussion.
I'm a scratch cook with some health problems and a very erratic employment situation (I work on call for my employer, who doesn't feel much loyalty to me). DH has a job, but his job alone isn't enough to keep us going in the very expen$ive Bay Area, esp. not with the vet bills we've experienced the last couple of years. So...I make sure we have scratch ingredients on hand at all times, to ensure the lowest-cost food for those times when I have no work at all. (I'm also an ace dog and cat groomer, so my animals don't need to go to a shop, which saves moolah.) I keep maybe a month, six weeks' worth (just estimating here) of "scratch" ingredients. I don't plan it out like that, though; I just buy chicken when it's at the lowest price, good flour at the lowest price, etc., and plan to make chicken soup from scratch, chicken stock from scratch (no onions; that way I can also use it in cooking for the dogs), bread, my own granola with rolled oats, and so on, whenever I have no work--and thus have the time. I could keep going that way for quite a while, and DH has always liked my scratch cooking. But, of course, this set-up is geared for financial
problems, not for a disaster
where there's no natural gas to cook with (yes, my stove is gas). Electricity would be dodgy to do without, but losing my gas service would be crippling--that's my cooking
! My hot water for tea, soup, hand-washing essential items, etc.
Hmm. Sounds like I need to get up to speed on a solar oven
. They're reputed to work even on cloudy days, although not in raging downpours.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9