How to Prepare for a Pandemic



Viruses, flus and respiratory illnesses don’t respect borders and boundaries anymore, and it is key to know how to prepare for a pandemic.  Disaster can strike at any time, and we all know that disease can spread quickly, exposing thousands to potentially deadly illnesses.  Unlike natural disasters, a pandemic poses it’s own special threat but with careful planning, you can limit the risk to you and your family.

What You Need to Know

Be vigilant, when pandemic strikes, make sure that you are up to date on all relevant information.  Google is your friend, and you should definitely be reading multiple sources at least once a day.  The government and media are likely to downplay this at first, so make sure you do your research and plan accordingly.  If you have a vacation home, or friends or family in another area that you can stay with, consider that before things get out of control, as it is difficult to leave the city.  If you have no where to go, hunker down and wait it out.



You can get your stockpile going fairly easily by starting to build your emergency water supply.  In a pandemic, your taps will likely still be running, at least in the beginning, but with a dangerous disease floating about, you want to make sure you have an uncontaminated supply at the ready.  It is recommended to have at least 6-8 weeks supply at 1 gallon or 4 litres per person per day.  When people start to panic, it will be difficult to stock up during the emergency, so get started on storing your clean water as soon as possible.  You can also treat your tap water with purification tablets, or simply by boiling it for one minute.


Like water, food will be hard to come by when a pandemic strikes.  Having a supply of non perishable food to keep you and our family going is key to staying safe.  You will not need to leave home and expose yourself to illness if you have planned for this event properly.  At this point, you should have 3 days of emergency food tucked away, which is a good start, but to wait out a potentially long lasting pandemic, that ain’t going to cut it.  By picking up a few extra items per weekly grocery shop, you should aim to build an emergency food supply of at least 6-8 weeks.  Be smart and stock highly nutritious foods rich in protein and fiber and don’t forget the canned veggies!  If you want to make it easy, and space efficient, pick up a pre-packaged freeze dried food supply.


Keeping your environment and body clean are extremely important during a pandemic disaster.  Disease can easily spread by neglecting to do simple tasks like washing your hands, by sharing foods and beverages, or even simply touching your face.  Be vigilant here, and make sure you are doing everything you can to stay clean and hygienic.  Your pandemic supplies should include bars of soap, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, toothbrush and tooth paste, feminine products, diapers, latex gloves, garbage bags, bleach, toilet paper (lots of toilet paper!) and of course clean clothes, underwear, and bedding.  Remove waste from your home regularly and make sure all pet messes are cleaned up quickly and efficiently.

small first aid kitMedical Supplies

It is important to ensure that everyone in your household has all necessary medications for at least 6-8 weeks.  You should also be stocking up on your advil, tylenol, antihistamines, anti-diarrhea meds, alcohol wipes and swabs, clean bandages, anti-biotic creams and other over the counter supplies.  Medical masks are also highly recommended in case you need to go outdoors during a pandemic.

Other Supplies

If you have been preparing a 72 hour emergency kit you will likely have these items already.  Crank/battery radios, batteries, flashlights, solar chargers, candles, emergency blankets and copies of all important documents.  If you don’t have these items yet, make a plan to add them to your stockpile soon.

Social Distancing

During an outbreak, it is very important to isolate your self from the general public, and avoid any unnecessary contact with others.  Don’t wait for the school board to cancel school, keep your kids home and away from other kids.  Children often bring home bugs from school and chance infecting the entire household.  Remember what happens during cold and flu season?  Imagine this with a deadly virus.   When signs of the illness reach your city, plan to take some vacation from work or to work at home.  No sense in exposing yourself unnecessarily.  Avoid large crowds, public transit, and even the hospital, often the epicentre of a major outbreak.

How is your pandemic preparedness coming along?  Leave your questions below, and I’ll be happy to get back to you,





  1. Is a reverse osmosis filtration enough in terms of pandemic preparedness water?

    • Well, if the power goes out, your system may not be working, so I would suggest boiling, if possible, and picking up some water purification tablets. If you need to leave home quickly, boiling and purification tablets are going to make a huge difference in staying healthy.

  2. I really hate thinking about things like this, however, we really need to be prepared. I’m not concerned about Water as we have a natural stream where we get our water. We always have about 8 gallons on hand but we really need to think about keeping more.

    As for the non-perishable food I know canned goods area good idea but I’m not sure what else would be good to stockpile. Perhaps you can make a list of items for your readers.

    • Hey Wendy, I know this isn’t really a joyful subject, but a conversation needs to be had about how to prepare in an emergency. I am glad to hear you live by a stream! I would suggest boiling your water for at least one minute before consuming. Bacteria including and little parasites can be dangerous, so make sure you boil that water! If you want to see a list of supplies, check out my page with some ideas of foods that are ideal for stockpiling

  3. Great information making it a great website. Everyone should have some knowledge of your niche but sometime there are those with “it can’t happen to me” attitude. However no one is untouchable and with that said you should be getting a lot of visitors. I know for sure I will be paying you a visit periodically. Blessings!!

    • Well said! You don’t have to be some crazy conspiracy theorist to make plans for an emergency. Remember the movie contagion? My advice to those who do start preparing for disaster, is to keep it to your self! You don’t want your neighbours an friends knocking on your door when they run out of food!

  4. I’ve read this post before and thought I commented on it. Maybe I commented on another page. I just wanted to say that I have thought about things like this, especially when thoughts about “epidemic bird flu” were going around. It’s really scary that something like that could wipe out so much of the population. My husband and I are building near a pond that we have and I’m trying to talk him into building an underground room or rooms to store some things, and possibly live in if we ever need to. For now, we could even sleep there in the Summer months, since it stays cool underground. The only thing I would worry about is being close to so much water. Our pond has never flooded before, but there’s always a first time and that’s all it takes. I still would take that chance, if my husband would go for it. 😉
    ~ Melinda

    • Hey Melinda, yes i think we discussed how you could store food underground. You can build an underground room that is water tight so you won’t have to worry about an leaking or flooding. You definitely want to make sure that your food is kept in a cool and dry environment.

      Good luck with the build, and lucky you to be so close to a pond!

  5. Hi Krysten,
    Thank you for the detailed reminders here in your post. I know there is much more that I could do to be prepared and this has given me some greater insights into what should be done.
    I live in Asia, where the political climate hasn’t always been stable, so being prepared for any emergency situation is vital.

    • Hey Duncan, It is especially important if you live in an urban area as you have to compete with that many more people for scarce resources. I think there is quite a bit of instability around the world, which can affect even the most stable of governments. Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any questions!


  6. Hi Krysten, Great advice on how to prepare for a pandemic. People these days just have not real idea on how some of this stuff works. I particularly like the part of keeping your kids home when it starts to look bad and not waiting for an “official” pronouncement.

    • Thanks! It’s important to be very cautious in this situation and your kids probably won’t mind staying home from school.

  7. Hey Krysten

    Great article. One thing I think you may want to add about water is the availability of getting a gravity water filter – these things are available for around $100 with shipping or you can even make your own – cost is about the same if you shop. These filters remove the items found in water that can be harmful, allowing you to create months worth of water without having to change the filter. I do recommend at least 1 spare filter.

    Great article


    • Hey Scott,

      Great suggestion, and I think I will add a review on this product soon. The more skills and tools we have at our disposal, the better we weather the storm. Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any questions!

  8. I must admit I’m a bit of an optimist when it comes to possible survival situations but actually having some tips and ideas on the back burner will definitely aid preparation if something of this nature did happen.
    The water is obviously one of the key problems and stockpiling enough for a 6-8 week period seems to be quite a challenge. Purification tablets are a good idea and they don’t take up so much room as fresh water.
    One of my relatives has already prepared for ‘armageddon’ and the whole of his understairs space is packed full of tinned food, packets of dried stuffs, dried pulses, cereals etc. and he hasn’t forgot his wine either!
    If this potential emergency were more serious ie. civil unrest and perhaps looting, gangs etc., would you advocate having some kind of weaponry for self defence? It’s not legal here in the UK to own weapons unless you have a real good excuse, but I understand in parts of the US guns can be owned by anyone?

    • I can’t speak to the gun laws in the US as we are based in Canada – I would say it never hurts to be prepared for that kind of situation. In Canada you have to take a special course, go through an intense background check and are restricted with what kind of firearms you can use. We also have to store them according to regulation. That being said, if you properly store a fire arm, it can definitely be a deterrent for looters etc.

  9. This reminds me of preparing for a major storm while this is not bad. Being prepared i believe is always the key in staying ahead of what ever we may face. Many have gone how should i say under if I can use that word simply because of not preparing. So I see that you have touch in my opinion every area relating to surviving this epidemic. This is a good article.

    • Thanks for your comment – it certainly is important to at least have emergency supplies for 72 hours. More is better obviously but you can build from that.

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