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If you are buying a new home or thinking about moving, you probably have a list of wants and needs, such as the number of bedrooms, an updated kitchen or a pool in the backyard. While these things can certainly make your home enjoyable and fit your lifestyle, there are probably some other considerations that you should make as well. Looking beyond the usual things that make a house or property attractive to the average buyer can make all the difference in the world in the event of a crisis.


If you have the chance, make it easier to be prepared from the beginning with your choice of a home. When it comes to protecting and sustaining your family, choose a home with the following features whenever possible.

Real working fireplace or wood stove

A real working fireplace can be a source of heat, as well as a resource for cooking. Our fireplace is deep and came with a swing arm on which we could hang a pot. Along with a fireplace or wood stove, it helps to have a source of wood to fuel it, such as a wooded backyard or free access to collect dead wood off of town or state property.

Adequate storage space

Will you have enough storage space to be able to store extra food and tools for survival? Food especially needs to be kept cool, dry and pest free. The more members of your family there are, the more food storage you will need.

Easy evacuation

In the event that you will need to evacuate your family, how easy would it be? Are there shelters close by? More than one way out? Is the town or county proactive about emergency planning and disseminating information? A quick call to town hall should get most of these questions answered for you.

An independent source of water

In addition to having well water, our property also features a running creek in the backyard. This can be a secondary source of water to our family that we can take advantage of if the need arises. It is safe to drink and we could also use the water for cooking and keeping clean.

Garden space

A garden can be grown almost anywhere, even in containers if need be, but space for a large garden means that you can produce your own nutritious fresh produce that can be combined with stored and prepared food to help feed your family. 

Livestock allowances

Anyone can raise chickens, even those in a New York City apartment, because chickens are considered pets, not livestock. But having a property where livestock is permitted means that your options are always open in case you want to raise animals for their products or as food. Start doing so now before a real crisis hits.

A safe location

Obviously, you want your home to have a safe location, such as being free of a flood zone or other serious weather concerns, if possible. While we didn’t prepare for this ourselves, we were blessed. Our home is in an area that typically gets passed over by major storms that hit around us. You can study the weather data for recent years to determine the risk factor for any property you are considering, although simply talking to the neighbors should work just as well. 

A walk-out basement or backdoor

Having more than one way to exit the home is a plus in the event that you become trapped in one area of your house. Windows should be easy to operate and serve as alternative exits or you should plan on replacing them. If the home has a basement, having a ground level walk-out exit would make it easy for even young children or older adults to escape if needed.

What do you think? Have I missed any important home features that would make all of the difference in an emergency?

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