Let us start preparing by figuring out where and what we need to prepare. Here are the categories to consider:
~ Food: this includes cooking and storing methods plus special needs like feeding a baby or pets. This category also includes seeds in case the crisis goes on so long we need to grow our own food. Water is in this category.
~ Clothing: yes, I also have more clothes in my closet than I need, but do I have a spare pair of walking shoes and socks in my car? Do I have winter gear for everyone? Do I have appropriate clothes for hard work that I might need to do in an emergency?
~ Shelter: this includes where we live currently but also how we're going to find / make shelter in case we have to relocate. We also have to be prepared to 'shelter in place' in case of a tornado, bad winter storm, or environmental hazard (all that duct tape and plastic sheeting we were supposed to buy a few years ago, remember?) This will include how to heat the space and get light.
~ Medical: including first aid, treating on-going chronic conditions, and advanced aid in case help can't get to us. I'm putting birth control this category, too.
~ Self-protection: (no, not birth control) this category is for how we're going to protect ourself in case of looters, rioters, and other dangers. This means writing up an action plans and testing them out, for instance, house evacuation in case of fire. I'm also including in this category the 'bug out bag' which is a backpack (more than one, actually) that contains basic self sufficiency supplies. If you have to leave and you can't grab anything else, at least grab the B-O-B. (stop laughing - yes I know what else is called a BOB.)
~ Communications: How will you gather family together if you're seperated? How will you get word to far-flung family that you're safe? How will you get help?
~ Transportation: What if you need alternative transportation? What if gasoline isn't available (electrical outages and the pumps aren't working, etc).
~ Currency: this includes cash on hand and items or skills that can be used for barter or trade.
~ Sanitation / cleanliness: this category includes everything from washing dishes to washing clothes. How will you bath / shower? How will you take care of toileting needs if the sewers stop working or the septic system fills up?
~ Moral and mental health: in this category consider how you will entertain yourselves without a TV, computer / internet or a gaming system. How will you keep from getting on each other's nerves. Remember, stress will probably be high. How will you keep the youngest ones out of harms way so you can labor on taking care of the basics? Will you homeschool the kids if the schools close?
Reference books for all the above would be sorted by each category. I'm thinking the same would go for tools, ie: a shovel to dig a temporary potty with or a manual can opener for all the canned goods, etc.