What To Keep ON or IN Your Bedside Table Nightstand For Preparedness

A short list of things to keep nearby when you sleep. Ideally on (or in), or nearby your bedside table or nightstand.

Why? Because disaster can strike quickly. Because your personal security could become “front and center” real quick in the night. It just makes sense to be prepared.

What threats should you be especially ready for at zero-dark-thirty?

Primarily FIRE or INTRUDER.

Quick Access Lamp

Most people have some sort of lamp at their nightstand. But if you don’t, then get one.


Similarly, and in addition, keep a flashlight on your bedside table nightstand. I keep a smallish tactical size flashlight there at all times.

>> My Nightstand Flashlight
(view on amzn)

Fire Extinguisher

You are wakened by the screaming of a smoke detector. As you try and focus while your sleepy mind begins to race – you wonder if it’s a false alarm? Do you smell smoke?

Keep a fairly good size fire extinguisher near your bed. It will help you egress if you need to get through a bad situation!

[ Read about: 3 Locations To Keep Fire Extinguishers ]

Your Vehicle Key Fob

It’s a good habit to leave your car’s key fob on the nightstand. Why? Because most all of them have an alarm function for the vehicle. Press the button and the car alarm starts screeching. Good security, just in case.


Safely keep a gun within quick reach. Got kids? Keep a handgun in a quick access safe.

[ Read about: My Biometric Handgun Safes ]

Extreme Caution

Anyone else living in the house? Then KNOW WHERE THAT SHOT MAY GO! (through walls). Even the smallest loads will go through at least two walls. Got neighboring houses next door? Again, KNOW YOUR BACKDROP. The best way to reduce over-penetration is to hit what you are shooting at.

Preemptively determine safe “lanes of fire” in your residence.

In creating those safe lanes of fire, you are looking for backstops that will physically stop a bullet better than drywall. In the event of a miss, a book case, a bath tub, or some heavy kitchen appliances will stop most pistol rounds.

Develop multiple positions of ambush to deal with intruders in your residence. Ideally those ambush spots will place the intruder in between you and a piece of hard cover that will stop a pistol bullet.

But ultimately, the true solution to the problem of over-penetration is to become more proficient with your defensive firearm. If you don’t miss, there will be very little need for any other precautions.

Ear Muffs

Speaking of keeping a gun at your bedside… should you ever actually need to use it (inside), your eardrums will certainly suffer damage. I keep a set of electronic ear muffs along with my handgun at the nightstand. They GREATLY amplify ambient sounds too (while muffling a ‘bang’ above 85dB should it occur).

[ Read about: Walker’s Electronic Muffs ]

Pepper Spray

If a gun is not an option for you, at least keep a canister of pepper spray.

[ Read about: Best Pepper Spray For Self Defense ]

Cell Phone

Need to call 911? That would not be good if your cell phone is downstairs or in another room when an intruder is in your house! Or, a FIRE situation when your house is burning!

Any more thoughts?


  1. I always keep a good knife, along with the other objects that you mentioned. We live on a farm, miles from the nearest emergency services. So I have thought about this quite a bit. I also keep a good head lamp on the table! I like your suggestion about a fire extinguisher kept close.

  2. Excellent advice. Also consider dead bolts on your bedroom doors or as a minimum a locking door knob. In a home invasion every second and every barrier may be the difference between life and death.

    1. Bedroom doors should be solid core and mounted in enhanced jambs with exterior grade hardware and locks. Not only can these be hardened to be impervious to being kicked in, but they increase the fire rating of the door, which increases the time one has to escape a fire. Bedroom windows should allow you to be able to escape your home, but should feature exterior embellishments, which will stop bullets at least to the height of your body, as it lies upon your bed. Such embellishments, such as planters, should allow you to exit thru the window and still enjoy ballistic cover once outside.

      I keep both a .9mm automatic and an M-4 carbine with tritium sights near the bed, along with very powerful tactical flashlights. All weapons fully loaded at all times, with plenty of loaded magazines stored within two feet of the weapons.

      People should keep a supply of empty sand bags at hand, in case they wish to fortify key areas of their home, once appearances no longer matter. Sand bags can also be placed inside the home, if one wished to enhance protection, while letting the home appear normal.

      1. Ision,

        On a second floor bedroom, would loaded bookshelves at the right height be enough ballistic protection? We may have covered this before on here, just can’t remember.

        1. Well, if the bullet had to first penetrate a wall, or go through a window, prior to impacting a book on Physics from your University days, there is a very good chance a pistol calibre round could be stopped. So many variables apply, however.

          One could use a “special” bookshelf, for example. A perfectly normal looking bookshelf can be easily modified to to stop all pistol rounds by adding ballistic materials to the backing panels of the shelf (the plywood backing panels found on non see-thru, closed, shelves). Since one cannot see behind the bookshelf, which could be placed where protection is desired, one can use conventional ballistic materials there, such as Kevlar and ballistic armor plates (such as those used in body armor and sold individually.)

          One could also install “special” books on the shelf, whose purpose are purely anti-ballistic and which are placed on the shelf to enhance protection to specific areas and heights. One could get very clever in the design of such “books.”

          While getting protection from small, low velocity, rounds is pretty easy, getting level 4 protection against high velocity rifle ammo requires much more of an effort and increased expense.

          One could also use just about anything to enhance their ballistic protection, and be creative about it. Wall art, yard art, planters, decorative brick and block walls, stamped concrete walls, large ceramic pots filled with gravel and sand and placed to enhance cover, fountains, statues, landscaping (piles of dirt, or berms, covered with flowers), cement filled block walls…etc…

          One could use transportable ballistic shields, too. Ballistic backpacks, brief cases, (perhaps enhanced by some of the ballistic “books” inside them), and actual (police type) shields, which can be stored behind the special book shelf.

        2. Books are actually really really good at stopping bullets, particularly if the round comes in edgewise to the book and has the entire width of the book to travel through (it wont make it). Thick or multiple books will even stop rifle rounds like the .223

  3. I leave everything in my pockets(pistol, knife, wallet and keys) and put my pants beside me. That way I’m ready to go at any time. DW is in bad health and I need to be ready to take her to the hospital at a moments notice. There is also a pistol safe and a fire extinguisher next to us.

    1. -I’m another ‘pants by the bed’ guy. If I need to be somewhere else Now!, I can do it quickly. Glasses on the nightstand, shoes under the edge of the bed.
      -Papa S.

      1. -Did a walk around the house. 8 strategically placed Fire Extinguishers in the house, 2 in the kitchen, 2 in the garage, one in the pantry and a couple more in the halls/bedrooms. Plus a couple more not mounted as backups. Plus one in each vehicle.

  4. Agree with most of those recommendations
    I did recently get those fiberglass fire blankets ( keep one at bedside along with fire extinguisher in case I need protection when I run to get my kid from her room)

  5. Tac flashlights 2, Glock.40 cal, on nightstand, loaded 12 gauge in closet by wife. I also keep pants ready with phone and wallet ready. Fire extinguisher in bedroom is a good idea, ours are in kitchen. And basement where woodstove is.

  6. We keep flashlight and firearm on the stand and more ammo and tums in the drawer. A small baseball bat ( no permit needed) is next to the stand.

  7. I wear glasses,& without them it would be difficult to see in the dark during an emergency. I keep mine on the night stand right beside me along with my bible!!

  8. We switched to bear spray. Not that I expect a bear in the house, but she was able to better control the spray and it is more effective than the little keychain mace cans. I highly recommend have one by the front door as well. Would work well for dispersing a group in the front yard.

    1. RWT bear spray will definitely work well to disperse any one at the door or in the yard, but not so sure that it would be a good idea to use inside in an enclosed space. It might incapacitate the user as much as the intruder. Trekker Out

  9. I keep shoes under my bed next to th night stand. If it’s fire or earthquake I gotta move and I don’t want to step on something hot or sharp

  10. I’ve kept my key fob on the night side when staying at our remote cabin in the woods. When a bear came rambling thru on our deck with the screened slider door open (at midnight) this spring, that key fob with the alarm and lights worked great to scare him away too! Needless to say that’s the first time a bear had been seen by us and the “neighbors” hadn’t heard of a bear being in the area in decades. He’s not been back since. And hopefully it scared him away for good!

  11. Because I am quickly approaching 60, I keep Walker “slim” earmuffs on the table top along with a small flashlight. In the table drawer I have a Glock 48. All my other firearms are in a separate, locked, room. My wife keeps a cell phone at her side and a box of Kleenix. Not much else. We’re pretty simple. My neighbors and I we watch each others back so we’re lucky in that respect. Probably won’t change this setup for many years unless Kamala or someone like her gets in the oval office. Then all bets are off. LOL.

  12. Great article. A plan for leaving the premises to a position of safety might be useful. Breaking contact can be a wise choice.

  13. I have small solar lights that I set outside each day and then bring them in at night and place them around the house and in my bedroom.

    1. I leave mine on the windowsill 24/7 and they are particularly helpful in the stairwell. I love solar motion lights…

  14. Handgun with a laser sight comes in real handy for night work. If living alone, grab your weapon and tac light, if you hear an intruder, roll off bed on side away from door. you’ll make a much smaller target. Trekker Out

  15. Thanks I have my 357 at the ready but I need a fire extinguisher. Have a good flash light.

  16. For those keeping a pistol by the bed consider using frangible rounds to prevent penetration of walls.

  17. Less is more..
    No need to fumble:
    My night sites on my glock is my night light. Easy to find. Always in same spot.
    My glock is also my flashlight with high power under rail light.
    Touch lamp insures light no mater where I touch.
    Truck keys w/fob.
    Bottle of water.
    Rifle nearby with duty belt hanging that I can throw over shoulder & has double rifle mag pouch with built-in double pistol pockets.
    Slip on shoes next to bed.
    If a naked gun toting shoe wearing trigger pulling farmer isn’t scary enough my wife is similarly equipped!

  18. The handheld Uniden scanner, so if I hear gunshots & sirens nearby I can tune in. And not really a prep, but my bedside clock is also a cd player. I wake to a recording of gentle surf first on alarm one, then a little later to a buzzer on alarm number two.

  19. As a Christian I would prefer to not kill anyone. I own a S&W M&P 9mm and it’s ready to go but my first choice, especially in the dark, would be one of my Louisville Sluggers or martial arts “Jo” that I have strategically placed around the house (including a Jo standing beside my nightstand). I’m a deep sleeper so chances are I’m not going to be aware of someone around me until they are right on me (assuming they made it past my alarm system somehow) so it needs to be something I can grab super fast.

    1. I hear ya – I guess it just depends on what’s happening. In all truthfulness I don’t think it’s something that God will allow anyway – at 56 years of age He’s kept me out of harms way many times so I have no reason to think He will allow it now.

      1. Rickster,
        same here bud,,, same age, same outlook!
        Even stuff that appears to be bad ends up being good!
        Thank you Lord!

  20. My bedside flashlight is a Maglite three-cell. It’s a light. It’s a weapon. It’s two tools in one!

    I live in earthquake country. I keep a hatchet in the drawer, in the event the door is jammed shut, or I have to break a window for egress.

    I keep a pair of loafers under the nightstand. If needed, they’re on in a second, and I don’t have to escape, engage an intruder, or run across debris in bare feet!.

    The go bag sits next to the stand. Before I hit the sack, I make sure the car keys and wallet are in there, along with the usual stuff. That way I can grab, go, and be mobile in a heartbeat. A side bennie is that I never have to go looking for my keys in the morning before heading off to work!

    The VHF/UHF ham walkie talkie is in the charger next to the stand.

  21. I am with a lot of guys on this site that keep my keys, wallet and folding knife in my pants. I still have to scramble into pants butt at least these items are in one location. There is a gun and cell phone within a daypack beneath the side table.

    A reminder that if you call 911 during a potential break in, your call is being taped and you are being recorded.

    Fire extinguishers are in several locations in my home primarily around the garage work area and the kitchen. These are where most of the fires originate from. Rodents chewing the electrical wires is an exception to this rule and old infested homes tend to go up periodically this way.

    My wife now has a high capacity 9mm with an attached flashlight/laser in her nightstand. We upgraded the firepower when we left the “Golden State”.

    In event of an earthquake, I also kept thin leather work gloves in the daypack along with lights and headlamp, spare socks and sensible shoes. Other items I brought with me to go into a weakened structure included a plastic hard hat and polycarbonate safety glasses ( these were not in the daypack but are handy to have when going into damaged buildings). These days, we are all wearing masks. After some violent quakes, there is a lot of broken glass on the floor, ground and all horizontal surfaces.

  22. We keep our dog next to the bed stand as a early warning alarm and our first line of defense.

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