Practical Holidays: Pair Disaster Gear with Disaster Planning


In recent years, families hoping to reduce their impact on the environment and focus less on materialism have been changing their holiday gifting habits. More people are giving:

  • Experience gifts
  • Group travel
  • Donations to charities
  • More practical items
  • A reduced quantity of gifts in general

Choosing practical gifts often means giving disaster preparedness items, but the director of FEMA’s Ready Campaign, Lea Crager, emphasizes that planning takes precedence when it comes to being prepared for disasters: “You spend a certain amount of money on a kit, you think you’re ready, but have you ever taken everything out? Does everyone (in the household) know what to do with what’s in it? It really comes down to making those plans.”

In an effort to make the disaster planning process more engaging and increase the number of households making plans (rather than merely gathering supplies), Oakland start-up Here Comes the Apocalypse has created a system that emphasizes planning, gathering gear, and drilling so users who complete the program have comprehensive disaster plans when they’re done. As both an experience gift and a practical gift, it’s a good choice for anyone hoping to cut down on waste and increase family interaction during the holiday season. 

Disaster Playbook with Holiday Bow

Founder Jennifer Heller wrote the Disaster Playbook because she wanted to prepare her family for unexpected disasters, but found the existing resources too boring to stomach. “I would go to government websites and get overwhelmed and confused. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who was puzzled by the process. I’ve always had a dark sense of humor. I figured — why not mix the macabre with the practical?”

Keeping users engaged with jokes, activities, and beautiful graphics is key to the success of the system. HCTA aims to put users in a good mood while they strategize their way out of the apocalypse. People creating disaster plans are much more likely to follow through if they enjoy the process. Heller adds, “Gear is a major component of disaster prep, but really thriving in a disaster requires planning and rehearsing how you’ll react when things get bad. Knowledge is power!”

Learn more about the Disaster Playbook and its accompanying tools to take your loved ones’ prep to the next level this holiday season at or on social media @helloapocalypse today.

About the Author

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.