Last Minute Steps – Prepare Doesn’t Stop!

This guest post is By HB and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

All preppers have taken, or are taking appropriate steps to prepare for whatever may happen. But, of course, we really don’t know what form that threat will actually be. At a recent ham radio club meeting I attended, the speaker talked about the high probability of extreme “X Class” solar flares hitting earth during 2012 and that this will occur based on studies by scientists.

But he couldn’t, of course tell us what exactly will happen. The earth being magnatized itslf and getting bomb-barded with an extrememly heavy electro-magnatized blast from the sun could cause grid meltdown, extreme radiation for those not in some kind of shelter, earth movements in the form of earthquakes or volcano eruptions or a multitude of other threats. Further, until it actually occurs we won’t know what parts of the earth will be affected.

Cheery thoughts. But we may have some warning because it is expected that we will have a few hours (very few) warning before it hits earth. Now assuming the good government does, in fact warn us a promptly as possible of that, or any other threat and them not knowing what the actual consequences will be, will probably spit out the basic warnings you can read on the FEMA, Red Cross or Homeland Security or other federal websites anytime, basically to have three days supply of food, some first aid supplies, water and a flashlight.

We preppers are way ahead of them on this basic guidance. We already have varying degrees of preparedness including sheltering in place, GOOD bags and what-have-you. But unless you’re very unusual, you will hope to take some last minute steps. It might not hurt to review what some of those steps might be. First you and the family need to have, and be familiar with a plan. Now, for the sake of this discussion let’s assume that whatever the threat, solar flare or whatever,that you’ll have some period of time to react. So we’ll consider this reaction in the context of your family unit.

Other articles have commented on such things as turning off the gas line coming into the house to reduce the chances of possible fire which is certainly important but we’ll focus other aspects. We know that the store shelves get stripped pretty quickly of such things as flashlight batteries and water. We also know that if the threat is maybe a hurricane that people will buy up generators.

So we have to have our “last minute buying list.” It has to be posted where it can easily be grabbed, maybe on the refrigerator and one in the car with such items as 1/ top off the fuel tank in the car, 2/ buy a couple loaves of bread and whatever you think you may want. Everyone’s list will be different and be based on the pending threat.

At the same time however, contact family members and close friends. Not everyone sits by the TV or has the radio on 24-7. What’s the old saying about some people just never get the message.

Well, we don’t want it to be Aunt Jane. And, even if they heard “Something about that storm” or whatever they may not be taking it seriously enough. So someone has to do some calling and just hope the lines aren’t tied up. AND, who’s going to pick up grandma and bring her to the house until things blow over. A big problem will be families with kids, especially teenagers.

Who knows where they might be at any given time. Thank God for cell phones and texting (more reliable during high usage times). Will we have time to do what has to be done as it relates to the family pets and/or farm animals — extra food and water and lock them in a sheltered area or whatever. Okay, and of course you’re taking Rover with you if you decide to bug out, but you’re certainly not taking the chickens.

The point here is that no matter how prepared we may think we are there are going to be maybe dozens of last-minute things that have to be done and no time to do it when that danger rears its ugly head. Preparing ahead of time is hard enough but at least we have time to think things out, compare prices, order items, pack that emergency equipment and make the auto repair. But when that red flag goes up, it’s panic time. Plan for this as well as possible and delegate duties to minimize that last minute chaos.

Finally, we must remember how critical time will be when the pending threat is bearing down on us. So, we may be just too busy with our normal responsibilities to simply sit in front of the TV in case of a terrorist attack but having a TV or radio on with the volume on low in the background would help. Having a NOAA weather radio programmed to the alert mode or police scanner on will give you the jump on more other folk.

Setting up a telephone tree with family members and/or team members so that the first one to get an inkling of danger can put everyone else on notice. The key if topping up the gas tank is on your list is to get to the service station and not have to be in a block-long line to get gas. And, by the way, plan on going to the nearest gas station or 7–11, not the cheapest place or your favorite super market. In and out quickly is the key. Good luck.

This contest will end on October 10 2012 – prizes include:

  • First Place : $100 Cash.
  • Second Place : $50 Cash.
  • Third Place : $25 Cash.

Contest ends on October 10 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. My #1 objective is to not be part of the “last minute shopper before disaster” crowd. It would be a shame to spend all those years prepping, just to get done in at Wal-Mart just before it was needed.

    we do keep pretty good track of who’s where on any given day of the week. Although we only have to 2 of use at the house, my oldest has 5 at her’s, and I’ve spent some time with the 2 youngest and need to spend more, talking about what to do if there is a real problem.

    Thanks for the reminders.

  2. Patriot Dave says:

    Good thoughts HB. If you have some warning, It is good to have a checklist to review and not have to create when your head is spinning. That is weird. I was just thinking that the other day. Where would I go first, grocery store or hardware? Food or other supplies?
    I think most preppers, including me, just approach the situation as if there will be no warning. A terrorist EMP will be just as devestating as a solar one, but without the hours of notice. That is why we usually store gas, money, junk silver already. If there is no electricity, there is no gas, atms, cash registers. Everything has to be pre-arranged. Rally points have to be set up before hand. Are you going to hike or bike to the school to pick up the kid(s). how do you get back home? Do your children know what to do? Can they travel part way as a pack?
    But, if we do have a warning, we should have a plan for that too.
    I would like to do an informal poll of the pack. Having read “One Second After” Would you do like the main character and “loot” for last minute stuff? Pretend it happens as you are typing your answer, with the preps you have at present, not what you wish you had.
    Second question: Would you use credit cards (if accepted) to the max knowing the financial system is about to collapse and they can’t collect? (also form of stealing, the store may not be reimbursed).

  3. SurvivorDan says:

    Good reminder HB. As I now live thirty miles from my folks (as opposed to 1 mile) I need to give them new instructions with a time frame about how and when I will come and get them (They know what to do until I get there).
    We who are somewhat prepared need to constantly update the last minute things we need to do and update coordination with our kith and kin. Thanks.

  4. HB,
    Excellent reminder that bad things can happen fast and we may not have a lot of time to get those last minute preps done. Many hands make light work… Good job!

  5. Good post HB! Keeping your head up and staying alert is both difficult and necassary. Sometimes your radar is on and your ready for anything,sitting on couch after a long day watching tv probably not so much. Alert radios and police/fire scanners are a good way to get info before it hits the general public ,once it does..let the chaos begin! However many channels are coded now and certain alerts don’t go out on public airwaves.We live in the shadow of a nuclear plant even with all the federal rules and regs they still get away with alot.Recently several thousand gallons of radioactive water was dumped into the local waterway after an ‘incident’. Not a peep was heard for 30 days,then a small blip in the paper. When somebody questioned them at a town hall meeting on how safe the reactor is they said they wanted to do a study on possible health effects..BEFORE informing the public!
    Last minute preps are ,if they can be quickly and safely done, icing on the cake. Have your preps done and be ready to implement them before they are needed,you may not have that extra may already be too late!

  6. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Like many households, we have the grocery list by the refrigerator. But like jp in MT, my list has back-ups and back-ups for the back-ups. When an emergency happens I want to batten down the hatches and ride it out, not go out shopping. Our last storm warning I took the umbrellas and cushions from the lawn furniture to the barn and was done. To me that is peace of mind.

  7. Thanks, HB – terrific article! Also very timely for me, because over the last couple weeks, I’ve been thinking about the “final hour” stuff. I usually tend to focus more on the long-term planning, so the last-minute tactical execution for me was a big hole. I ended up creating some “top 10” lists – these are the 10 things I would want to do before (if notice)/during/right after some event. For example, on my earthquake list are:
    1. Check for damage, physical injury, property damage. 20 minutes
    2. If okay, turn off gas and turn on TV/radio/CB/police scanner. 5 minutes
    3. Check water; if on, fill up bathtubs. If not, check the basement/garage to ensure temp water supply is safe. 10 minutes
    4. Check phone; if on, call SIL and DD to ensure they are in a safe place, and see if they need to come here. If not, write a quick note and stick it in the mailbox (just in case the mailman eventually ever comes). 5 minutes
    5. Call DS (most likely at work; he works 80 hours/week, sigh) to see if he can get home or alternate safe place. If can’t call, try not to worry – he has a bag in his car, and will figure things out. 5 minutes
    6. Load BOB and bug-out-list items in truck in case we are ordered to evacuate. 30 minutes
    7. Top off gas tank in truck (from gas storage). 10 minutes
    8. Put black-out fabric over windows in case of evac, and close/lock all windows. 30 minutes
    9. If phone/internet, contact extended family. If not, write a quick note and stick it in the mailbox (just in case the mailman eventually ever comes). 10 minutes
    10. Check on neighbors. 60 minutes
    Total time: ~3 hours

    I made one of these lists for several different circumstances (“events”) and am continuing to make more as I think of stuff. In my mind, I try to go through each minute of an event, and what would be most critical to do. Lots of work still to do on this, so thanks again for bringing this idea to the forefront! 🙂

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!