Start With Common Sense
The web is full of websites and articles about how to Prep For Doomsday or end times scenarios. However entertaining reading such an article can be, their primary use is for entertainment not for serious preparation. It really is impossible to predict the circumstances that would lead to a doomsday event, and knowing how irony usually works, it would probably happen in a way that no one would conceive of anyway. We're not saying that doomsday prep enthusiasts are wrong in preparing for said scenarios, and in fact the freedom to do so is just another example of what makes America great. But like most everything in life, moderation is the key, and practicing common sense is paramount, especially when preparing for an event that is highly unlikely. Finally it is important to note that a portion of every generation thinks the end of the world is near, but we can safely say they were all wrong. If we were betting men and women, we'd place all our money on the world not ending this generation either.
This all being said, disasters have made fairly regular appearances throughout the history of mankind. While you won't have to survive forever if a disaster hits, you may have to endure a couple weeks or more before the necessities you've come to count on are repaired and functioning again. In the meantime you may need to fend for yourself regardless of whether you live in the country or in a major city. Let's examine a few basic things you can do to make the interim more pleasurable and less like an ordeal.
Unlike getting stranded in the wilderness, your options for Sustainable Water are much different at home. First thing is first, you can't count on that tap staying on once the big storm or natural disaster hits. Even if it continues to run for a little while, the water will likely be contaminated by pollutants that you can't fully anticipate or prepare for when things go haywire. So priority number one will be having water stored in a place that will be easily accessible should you be confined to home for whatever reason. Bottled water (skip the 12 oz bottles and opt for something larger) is fine for this purpose, but remember that even bottled water has an expiration date and should be replaced periodically. Growths like fungus or other bacteria can also start to grow in stored water, and you should stock up on water filtration tabs or some alternative should you forget to periodically change out your water supply. A less wasteful alternative to this strategy would be purchasing several “aquatainers” or reusable water jugs while still replacing them periodically and keeping the water filtration tabs still close at hand. Be sure to still use the water wisely when swapping it out. Watering your garden with the old water or using it for some other positive outcome is the responsible thing to do.
Once again, you don't need to build an elaborate bunker or tons of shelves in your basement to store a little extra food. Your pantry will likely still be the best place for storing food for an emergency, and you should only need a maximum of a couple weeks worth of dry food for a disaster anyway. Canned goods will work fine, but don't forget that heating up the food will not be an option unless you have a jet boil or other camping specific stove handy (which when prepping for a disaster you should). Freeze dried food is also a good option, but some freeze dried options will also require boiling water to be served properly, and that means allocating both heat and water to prep food which can get tricky if resources run short. Depending on where you live, you can always turn to the trusty campfire for heating options if need be as well. Realistically this preparation is best started by just buying a couple extra cans of food when you're at the store and periodically swapping them out or eating them every six months to a year or so.
Illumination And Energy Options
When a disaster hits, you can most certainly count on the power going out for an extended period of time. For that initial period of adjustment, a bright Flashlight with a decent run time and extra batteries is a must. Ideally you should position three to four of these around your house. Make them accessible from key points so you don't end up feeling your way down to the basement to grab the one flashlight you have when the lights go out. Don't completely rely on flashlights as a long term solution though. Candles are a must, and depending on the type they only have a few hours of burn time, so stock up on a lot of them. Generators can be a good option to recharge flashlights and power other devices, but don't rely on them as the only power option since gasoline can go fast and isn't always immediately replaceable. As an alternative, companies like Goal Zero offer portable solar panels and battery packs that can be used again and again as long as you have good access to sunlight.
First Aid And Medications
When you start to think about disaster preparation, you have to take into account that you or others may be injured by the initial calamity as well as the inevitable after shocks or events that follow. A well stocked first aid kit will naturally be an important part of any disaster preparation, and you should have a good first aid kit around the house as an everyday precaution anyway. You can either buy a first aid kit or make one of your own, and while buying an advanced first aid kit is usually more than adequate, you'll be sure you have the best products at hand if you build your own. Consider buying a rugged case for your homemade first aid kit like 5.11 designs so you don't have to deal with torn plastic bags or boxes when the unexpected hits. Don't forget to add an ample supply of basic medications like aspirin in your kit, and be sure to swap them out every couple years to keep medications fresh. If you take special medications like blood pressure pills, you should consider changing to 60-90 day prescriptions instead of 30 day prescriptions so there is a better chance you'll have extras should you be unable to make it to the pharmacy.
A Few Handy Extras
The good news is that if you're confined to your home, many of the comforts you take for granted every day are still there. As long as your home hasn't been extensively damaged there is still plenty of warm bedding and fresh clothes, distractions like books, games, and other amusements, and the company of your friends or family. However a few extras you might want to consider include flares or emergency signaling equipment should you need rescue from emergency crews and easy to pack overnight bags should you be relocated to a shelter by authorities. An extra can of gasoline in the garage doesn't hurt either if you need to drive a long distance or power your generator for a vital reason.
Whatever you do, don't panic. This isn't the end times scenario where life won't ever return to normal. It's just a bump in the road, and if you keep your cool, you can ensure you and your family make it through with a good story to tell and no harm done.