For most people who prepare for the worst, life can be broken into a few major categories, like clothing, water, food, sleep, shelter, transportation, communication, sanitation and hygiene, first-aid and lighting.
The above are not in any particular order. That's because the order changes with every situation. Yes, it's important to have water and food when bugging out, but they aren't very important when you have a nail sticking in your eye.
Have you heard the rule of "Threes or Fours":
If you PANIC, you could be dead in 3-4 seconds.
If you HAVE NO OXYGEN, you could be dead in 3-4 minutes.
If you have no SHELTER, you could be dead in 3-4 hours.
If you have no WATER, you could be dead in 3-4 days.
If you have no FOOD, you could be dead in 3-4 weeks.
If you FALL APART AS A GROUP, you could have 3-4 months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, or even seconds.
Make sure these don't happen to you.
- Keep your preparations simple.
- Practice emergencies. Make a list of possible emergencies (fire, hurricane, tornado, riots, etc.) and write out a plan for each. Drill drill drill!
- Run your routes... from home or work or soccer practice to your safe place you've established. Mark the routes, including landmarks that can't change or burn down. Where are there gas stations? Do they accept cash?
- Teach your children to call 9-1-1.
- Pretend there's an emergency, and you do NOT panic. This is also part of the drilling and practicing thing.
- Make sure that your items all do double-duty, or more.
- Test the group mentality: gather the family and tell everyone that no one can have any food (or toilet paper or water or a bed or clothing, etc.) for the next 2 weeks. Look in the eyes - see the panic and find a way to deal with it. Here's another test: tell a group of smokers that they can never have another cigarette - watch the intense panic in their eyes once it sinks in - then figure out how to keep a cool head.
Psychology plays a big part of your preparations. That's where practice comes in. And the practice is made easier when you've made out your plans, using the simplest features, items, and so forth.