Uncorking the Lid on the Preparedness Test

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testPeriodically, I like to perform what I call a “walk around” inventory.  In the simplest of terms, what that means is that I walk around my home, garage and yard with an eye peeled to deficiencies that need to be corrected to insure my safety in the event of a natural disaster.  Here where I live, that primarily means an earthquake or winter storm but in fact, it could mean anything that disrupts my normal way of life.

In addition to my walk-around inventory, I go over my preparedness checklist so that I can re-familiarize myself with the things that need to be in place at all times – things that I may have allowed to go slack for one reason or another.

With hurricane season upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to uncork the preparedness test as a reminder that even though a it has been almost seven years since the last major hurricane in North America, we still need to be aware of the supplies and skills we need to have at hand to stay safe.

According to USA Today:

Six years, nine months and 30 days have passed since Hurricane Wilma came ashore with 125-mph winds near Naples, Fla. — the longest period the nation has gone without a hit from a major hurricane since the government began keeping records in 1851.

Hurricane Katrina

Whether you are a seasoned prepper, a newbie, or just a concerned citizen, I encourage you to take the Preparedness Test this weekend and see just how ready – or not – you are for a disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane.


1.   Has your family rehearsed fire escape routes from your home?

2.   Does your family know what to do before, during, and after an earthquake or other emergency situation?

3.   Do you have heavy objects hanging over beds that can fall during an earthquake?

4.   Do you have access to an operational flashlight in every occupied bedroom?  (use of candles is not recommended unless you are sure there is no leaking gas)

5.   Do you keep shoes near your bed to protect your feet against broken glass?

6.    If a water line was ruptured during an earthquake or hurricane, do you know how to shut off the main water line to your house?

7.   Can this water valve be turned off by hand without the use of a tool? Do you have a tool if one is needed?

8.    Do you know where the main gas shut-off valve to your house is located?

9.    If you smell gas, do you know how and would you be able to shut off this valve?

10.  Gas valves usually cannot be turned off by hand. Is there a tool near your valve?

11.  Would you be able to safely restart your furnace when gas is safely available?

12.  Do you have working smoke alarms in the proper places to warn you of fire?

13.  In case of a minor fire, do you have a fire extinguisher that you know how to use?

14.  Do you have duplicate keys and copies of important insurance and other papers stored outside your home?

15.  Do you have a functional emergency radio to receive emergency information?

16.  If your family had to evacuate your home, have you identified a meeting place?


17.  Would you have sufficient food?

18.  Would you have the means to cook food without gas and electricity?

19.  Would you have sufficient water for drinking, cooking, and sanitary needs?

20.  Do you have access to a 72 hour evacuation kit?

21. Would you be able to carry or transport these kits?

22. Have you established an out-of-state contact?

23. Do you have a first aid kit in your home and in each car?

24. Do you have work gloves and some tools for minor rescue and clean up?

25. Do you have emergency cash on hand? (During emergencies banks and ATMs are closed)

26. Without electricity and gas do you have a way to heat at least part of your house?

27. If you need medications, do you have a month’s supply on hand?

28. Do you have a plan for toilet facilities if there is an extended water shortage?

29. Do you have a supply of food, clothing, and fuel where appropriate: For 6 months? For a year?

The Final Word


No matter how prepared you think you are, it seems as though there is always something new to do.  Whether a new skill, some updated gear, or simply an update to your survival mindset, it is good to stay fresh and stay current.

Every time I take this test – which is about every 6 months – I come up with a new checklist of preps.  After all, being prepared is a work in progress that will never end.  With a  fragile planet, a global financial mess and an ongoing threat of man-made, terrorist activities, this business of prepping is here to stay for a long, long time.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Note:  To download a printable copy of the preparedness test, click here.  In addition, you can find the original version of this great Preparedness Test buried in an LDS Preparedness Manual which is a 100% free download.

If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Backdoor Survival on Facebook to be updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin: Getting the goods you need to in place to be comfortable during a major disaster when the grid is down can be daunting when you are just getting started. Always, start with food then branch out from their. Here is a list of some gear to help you along the way.

Ambient Weather Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio: This is becoming a popular choice with Backdoor Survival readers. This unit is a Digital AM/FM NOAA Weather Alert Radio and a powerful 3 LED flashlight, with smart charger, all in one portable package.

AA and AAA Solar Battery Charger: Another popular item. This unit will charge up to 2 pairs of AA or 1 pair of AAA batteries via USB or solar power.

EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove: Burning twigs and pinecones, this stove will cook a big pot of rice in under 20 minutes. The stove is solidly built and will burn charcoal as well. There is also a version that only burns biomass for slightly less money.

Coleman Rugged Battery Powered Lantern: This sturdy Coleman has a runtime of up to 28 hours on the low setting and 18 hours on the high setting but does require D cell batteries. Personally, I have both a battery operated and propane lantern. Of course by now you know that I like redundancy with my preps.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite The Sunday Survival Buzz   Volume 22: Don’t let the $20 price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these (so far) and feel that these lights are worth double the price.

Chemical Lighting aka Light Sticks: These are inexpensive, portable and easy to use. These come in a number of colors so take your pick.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

Emergency Candle

Although I have plenty of flashlights and batteries (you might even say I have a flashlight fetish) I also stay stocked up with a dozen of these Clear Mist 100 Hour Plus Emergency Candles as well.  For the best deal, purchase a dozen at a time to get a discounted price.

Click here for Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials.

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Uncorking the Lid on the Preparedness Test — 8 Comments

  1. My wife and I have 3 daughters. One believes in prepping but is limited on funds. One stores food but it is all store bought and packaged. The last one thinks my wife and I are crazy, that nothing bad is going to happen.

    My wife and I decided to prep for all of them. We have purchased 3 travel trailers for them using the guise of going camping a lot. We have encouraged them to have it ready at all times with food and clothes. We purchased 20 acres and put in 4 rv sites as a pretense to always having a camping spot for unscheduled camping trips. We have been teaching them how to live a 12 volt life style by going dry camping. We purchased 3 generators so AC could be had if needed.

    So what we have been doing is teaching thru trickery and obfuscation. But it works for us.

    • that’s awesome! My dad did the same thing with me … now I find me doing the same things not because I thought I was “prepping” but because that is how I was raised and it felt right to do. Thank you Dad!

    • You got to love it! Your daughters and their families may not think you are so crazy if sometime down the road they need those preps. And if you never need them? You will still have a blast camping.

  2. It prints to one page, but covers a lot of territory.
    In one way I am glad that it does not include weapons. Even though the are extremely important for personal self defense. But the list can be handed to those squeamish or newbies without overwhelming or looking like extremists.
    I would have to of course add to the list.
    30. (#20&21) Do you have up-to-date maps of your area and primary and alternative evacuation routes? If bridges are impassible? if traffic is stopped? if there are road blocks?
    31. Is the evacuation vehicle in sufficient mechanical condition to be reliable to get you out of danger? Is it parked under any large branches? Can you manually open the garage door if there is no power?
    32. Do you have sufficient fuel to make it to your primary or secondary destination?
    33. (#3) Have you secured heavy objects such as book cases and water heater to the walls to keep from falling over during an earthquake. Secured breakable items in cupboards from falling out? See fema’s website for more instructions on securing your home.
    34. (#16) Does your family all have GRMS or FRS radios for short distance communications if cell towers are overloaded or phone service is completely gone?
    35. Do you have a small solar battery charger to re-charge your cell, pda, laptop, batteries?
    36. (#14) Do you have copies on a flash drive of Driver’s license, ssn card, passport, others, mortgage-note/deed to property, car title and registration, bank account and investment documentation, insurance policies – life, auto, home, etc, medical documents, will, trust, power of attorney, living will, etc. I have an encrypted flash drive call Iron Key. It is password protected.
    37. Do you have plans and stuff packed for your furry,scaly,feather kids, small kids, elderly folks, special needs people?
    38. (#16) Do you have alternative places in case the primary is inaccessible?
    Opps, getting long, better stop.

  3. Thanks for having a printable version without pictures. As nice a pictures are, they do nothing for my ink supply. They don’t add any info to the article or list either, so not needed to print.

    • Just so you know, there is a little print icon at the bottom of every email that will allow you to print the article without pictures and ads. A lot of people miss that so I thought I would point it out.

  4. One of the things our Group does in Waco is compare items we consider necessary to survival. Some items would have to be abandoned if you have to leave, so most of us look at what we can carry and use by placing in a backpack. Trying to keep your supplies light and comfortable to carry is always on our minds. One member puts it this way: Ounces equal Pounds, Pounds equal Pain! Weight for weight, the smaller sub-caliber ammo allows me to pack more, vs. the larger heavier rounds. Freeze dried is much lighter to carry than MRE’s or constituted meals Have items that use AA Batteries? Use some tinfoil and use AAA batteries. You can carry more of these lighter ones. If your into using buckets, then get/create a yoke like the Chinese use to carry two at a time. Gotta Love Gaye and Backdoor Survival! She’s keeping it honest and true.

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