Survival Kit Checklist 1: Scenarios For Drinkable Water, Earthquake, HazMat Kit

In a disaster, which would you rather have.  Chaos and confusion?  Or a simple progression with simple checklists.

Where I work, we have SOP’s or Standard Operating Procedures. These SOP’s might be a list of steps to follow for a given task. The military has SOP’s all over the place. That’s how the entire US Military organization works.

So to start you thinking in checklist “mode”, I’m going to give you 3 scenarios. Along with each scenario, I’ll give you a set of items to include for that situation. And, I’ll help you start your checklist by giving you 3 potential actions for that situation. It’s not comprehensive, but it’s meant to kickstart you on your way to checklists.

In putting these scenarios together, I it’s amazing at how many of them need checklists.  It is my hope that these scenarios will motivate you to create your own checklists.

So here we go..


Imagine contaminated water unsafe for drinking.  People start showing up in the ER.  They are complaining of similar gastrointestinal symptoms. Events start to unfold.  It’s clear that a terrorist group used an apartment as a point to breach the City’s water distribution system. They introduced Shigella bacteria into that part of the City’s distribution system. The government response starts with public health sector and shifts to the FBI by the end of the event.

An hour later, millions of people are unable to use their cellphones, access the internet, or even dial 911. The problem is so bad that parts of Northern Virginia are without emergency 911 services for over 48 hours….


  • a few packaged water pouches in your survival package
  • SteriPen UV water purification pen
  • water purification tablets
  • food in storage


  • start looking for alternative sources of water you can begin purifying and drawing from
  • look for containers that can hold and store drinkable/purified water.
  • begin gathering items that will filter dirt and debris out of water sources
  • if you want to learn more about this kind of scenario – check out this research document



There’s not a whole lot you can do in the middle of an earthquake. All the action happens afterwards. In the middle of the devastation that exists. So how does a checklist help an earthquake?


  • get your bedside bag setup and in place next to the bed
  • include GMRS/FRS or HAM radio’s for communications
  • ultra lightweight clothing, flashlights, gas shut off tools
  • firestarting tools in case the grid is out
  • lightweight shelter in case home is destroyed


  • assess the safety and health of everyone in your family/party after the quake
  • find out the state of power & the grid
  • confirm that all gas lines are intact or shut off



A large truck filled with hazardous material swerves to avoid someone who braked quickly.  Route 216 near Planfield is now a pile of cars.  But that’s not the only problem. Neighborhoods nearby are also affected.


  • breathing masks
  • LEPC contact numbers/email/radio call signs
  • plastic sheeting/ duct tape
  • medical disaster kit


  • contact LEPC
  • keep family and friends in safety

In the end there is no one survival setup that will do it all. But if you run different scenarios you can begin to see patterns. From these patterns, you can group gear and supplies together. Or you can have certain gear perform multiple tasks, which saves you on weight and bulk in your bug out bag.

Its all about disorganization in the middle of a disaster. And there’s no place for disorganization. It can endanger your life and the lives of others. Not being able to find a critical piece of gear, or not knowing how to use it, can cost you minutes and hours. Maybe even days. Start putting your checklist of gear and actions together. Put it in your bug out setup and update it as new ideas come to you.