Preparing for an epidemic is similar to preparing to bug out; however, you should be prepared for up to 90 days being shut in your home or chosen destination. A solid disease or sickness epidemic will take approximately 90 days to run its course.

If you are bugging in or sheltering in place in your home, you already have shelter. You should plan to have an idea of fire, food, water, hygiene, first aid and communication.

Fire and Heat

What season is it? If it is summer then you will only need some way to cook your food and boil water. Do you have a gas stove or electric stove? If there is an epidemic, chances are that there may also end up being a power outage if no one is going to work in your area for around 90 days. Probably be a much longer outage if no one works to pay the bills for the next 90 days. Look ahead.

No electricity, an alternative is cooking inside on a fire or outside on a fire. Depending on the epidemic, outside may be way too risky. A small camp stove or a Biolite stove would be perfect with proper ventilation.
A generator would take a lot of fuel in 90 days. If you have planned ahead and have fuel stored, then that is great.

If it is winter, heating in your home is going to be tough without a fireplace or electricity. Layering clothing is the key and reflective emergency blankets can reflect your own body heat back to you. That and a few wool insulative blankets would make all the difference. You can put wool blankets underneath the sheets or under you on a cot and then one on top to keep you toasty. Also, remember to wear merino wool socks and stocking cap to ensure that your body heat doesn’t escape.


Make sure that you have a way to obtain water and boil it. If you store water in gallon jugs like we do, make sure to rotate it out every 3 months, write the date on the jug with a sharpie. Food grade buckets with lids can be used as well. An epidemic could greatly affect the water supply for your area. Storing water is important.

Think about a rain barrel and cistern storage system for rain water. You will have to have at least 1 gallon per day per family member. Don’t forget to store water for your pets as well.


Do you have enough food without the benefit of electricity to sustain you and your family (including pet food) for 90 days? The refrigerated food, if you have electricity, will only last about a week. Make sure you have canned food and a manual can opener.

If you put back only beans, rice and pasta, make sure that you have a way to prepare the food that you have set aside. Vitamins are excellent to help keep the immune system going with a less than perfectly nutritious diet. Freeze dried or dehydrated foods are amazing in this instance as long as you have enough water to rehydrate these foods.


Hygiene is very important to keep the living area, food preparation area, the bathroom area and your body as clean as possible. This will keep you from getting sick and making others sick. You may need a lot more water than you thought and bleach to keep all the areas clean. Make sure to have plenty of soap, nail brush, laundry soap, cut rags (yes you heard me, you cannot store an indefinite amount of toilet paper for the whole family, it’s ridiculous) and consider wash cloths that do not require to be washed in order to be reused.

If you do not have water, then, you may not have a flushing toilet. Keep in mind that you will need a camp toilet with bio bags or a composting toilet. If you are going to use your regular toilet, into a lagoon or septic type system, you will need a lot more water than you may have planned for. City sanitation system may not be in working order during an epidemic. You will need a way to get any trash or waste away from the house.

First Aid and Safety

Do you have enough required medication for you, your family and your pets? How about every day medication in case of fever, cold or flu? Your diet will not be the same as normal, do you have medication for stomach issues?

Along with basic medication do you have any bandage supplies, ointments, salves or splints? With added chores and less light, comes added risk for injuries and infection that would normally be taken care of at a hospital, which will have been overrun by the epidemic and short staffed if staffed at all.

Do you have enough fire extinguishers and a way to protect your family? With all the new inventive ways to cook and heat the home, you may have more accidents. You may have to be your own fire department and protection during an epidemic.


Do you have a battery powered am/fm/weather radio? A two way radio or ham radio would be an excellent resource. Do you have a way to communicate with family members or neighbors outside your household? Do you have enough batteries or a solar charger to take care of your charging needs for communication?