Last Minute Prepper: How to Survive a Disaster when you Failed to Prepare

Because I work so hard to help people prepare, I need to start this article off with a huge disclaimer. Waiting until the last minute, or waiting until a disaster strikes is probably the stupidest thing you can do. Depending on the severity of the disaster it could get you and the ones you love killed.

I thought long and hard about writing this article; in fact, it was one of the early concepts for my book (the publisher suggested it). Looking back, I’m glad I choose to ax it and go with the Ultimate Situational Survival Guide. But having run this site for over eight years now, I know the reality of prepping; most people, even those who claim to be prepared, don’t take their preparedness planning very seriously. And no matter how many articles I write about preparedness, a majority of people – even many of those reading this article – are going to wait until the final moments to do anything about it.

Last Minute Preparedness: What to Do Right Before a Disaster Hits!

Do Not Panic

While disasters like industrial accidents, earthquakes, and terror attacks are hard to predict, many disasters tend to come with at least a little bit of warning. Things like hurricanes, winter storms, and even wars or social unrest usually will come with some sort of warning associated with the crisis.

If you know you are about to face an emergency situation, you need to act quickly. Most of the country is ill-prepared for even small-scale disasters and will be panicking once the crisis hits. That’s going to make last minute prepping dangerous and could make the act of stocking up on these last minute supplies even more hazardous than the actual coming disaster.

Here’s what you need to do.

Your first priority is delegating duties to everyone in your home or group. This isn’t a one-man challenge; the more hands that you can have on deck, the easier it will be to get ahead of the danger.

Immediately start filling any containers you can find with water. Depending on the disaster, municipal water supplies can become compromised relatively quickly, making even the water coming out of your faucet unsafe to drink. If you have an WaterBOB fill it immediatly, or fil every container you can find and seal it with plastic wrap.

Water is going to be one of your top priorities so get this one done quickly!

Head to the bank, get all the cash you can get. Electronic payments are anything but secure, and anything from a cyber-attack on the banks to failures in the power grid can mean being stuck without a way to buy your last minute supplies. Having cash on hand during a disaster is essential; don’t count on the plastic in your wallet!

Stock up on food and water. If the coming problems are short-term in nature, stock up on food that you can eat without cooking. If the disaster looks like it could turn into a long-term crisis, stock-up on these long-term food supplies now. Don’t forget to buy as many bottles of water as you can.

Fill up your Gas Tank: You never want to let you tank fall below half filled; once you know a disaster is coming you need to start topping off all of your vehicles in case gas deliveries are interrupted. If possible, and if you have a safe way to store it, fill as many extra gas containers as you can store.

Buy as many batteries as you can. From marine grade batteries that can be used to recharge items like cell phones, tablets, and other emergency gear to AA batteries and other standard sizes, you can’t have enough batteries on hand.

Get your Medical Supplies in Order. If you have a medical condition, now is the time to refill all of your prescriptions before it’s too late.

Charge Everything. From your rechargeable batteries to your cell phones and tablets, charge everything now. It may be your last chance!

Build a Shelter within your Shelter: Depending on the conditions, make sure you have the appropriate gear in place to regulate your temperature should the grid go down. Pull out all your seasonal clothing (hats, socks, gloves, etc.) gather your blankets, and make a quick plan on what items you need to buy in order to survive without power.

If you live in a hot climate, check out our article on staying cool without Air Conditioning

Grab a backpack and put together a quick Bug Out Bag: Hopefully, you already have one; but then again this is an article about last minute preparedness. Immediately grab the supplies you would need to survive an extended emergency away from home, should the worst happen and an evacuation is ordered you need to have everything in place to leave at a moment’s notice.

Some other items you should look for:

  • Candles: Buy as many as you can find.
  • Backup solar panels: Here are some good ones that we recommend.
  • Sanitation Supplies: Toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, garbage bags, bleach, rubbing alcohol, and cleaning supplies.
  • A small BBQ Grill for cooking, in case you lose power.

If you’re reading this article because disaster is imminent, GOOD LUCK!

If you stumbled on this article, and have never thought about preparedness related issues I’m going to end this article with the same warning I gave at the beginning: Waiting until the last minute, or waiting until a disaster strikes is probably the stupidest thing you can do.

If you are new to preparedness or want to get some ideas on how you can better prepare yourself and your family to face these types of issues here are a couple of articles to get you started:

Shirts of Liberty

OFFGRID Survival book



  1. This is kind of funny because there are nine days until Trump becomes President, and the dum dums are threatening, just threatening. So, here is a prime example of a time to get your house, and vehicle, in order, now, not on January 17 or later, but now. Then relax because most likely nothing will happen. But on the day of the inauguration, I for one, won’t be looking for batteries or anything else. No sir. I plan to have an other boring day like today. Boring is good.

  2. If it is a bad storm you are getting ready for (especially this being winter), it might be a good idea to check in on your neighbors. Helping them prepare and get ready will put less of a strain on you and your supplies if they ask for help. Make sure they are good. If they are to proud to let you help when they may need it, they might be to proud to ask for it when they do need it.

  3. Last Minute Prepper’s, Short-Term Preppers, life preppers, Lifestyle, Homesteaders, the OHHHHH-crapo preppers, even the non-preppers, I don’t give a darn if you have been preparing for 8 years or 80 years. Ya cant fix “Stupid” all you can do is try to tell em. Maybe, just Maybe one person will listen and they will save their child or wife.

    Those that don’t, just remember, you’re not preparing for yourself; you are preparing for your Family your Children, your Wife. Everyone talks of a SHTF (Shit Hit The Fan) aka Disaster, but ya know, the SHTF does NOT have to be a HUGE disasters to put you in harm’s way, Try living without electricity for a week in your home (happens all the time) and see how you fair.

    AND do NOT ask FEMA to bail your azz out, remember it took FEMA 5 days to get water to the Super Dome.

    I agree with Mr. Richardson, if you don’t prepare, you’re just all out STUPID and obviously don’t care about your Loved Ones or you’re Family….

    End of Rant, just get started, get Prepared.


  4. Three steps for survival if SHTF and you didn’t prep. Raid, murder, and loot. These are the plans that 90 percent of people who don’t prep will be following. As time goes on, if things don’t improve they will add a fourth step, cannibalize.

  5. Just remember 8 months after the last republican president was elected was one of the worts terrorist attacks in USA history

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