Things you need to do to prepare for emergencies:
1. A plan for water that you have practiced is the FIRST thing any newbie needs before prepping anything else. All other considerations are secondary.
2. A gun. It doesn't matter what kind, but an ancient flintlock isn't going to be as useful as a semi-auto Ruger 10/22 in .22LR, so use some common sense.
3. Food. Get what you eat. Get lots of it. Now go buy some more. This isn't rocket science, you know what you will and won't eat and you know how much storage space you have that can be kept close to 68F year round (the garage attic is a poor storage area for food). Buy some food so you have energy to gather water.
4. Seeds, a shovel, hoe, rake and a garden hose.
5. Write everything down and share it with your closest family and confidants (you might be killed in the opening moments of the crisis and if your family doesn't know the basement is full of preps, well.... it won't be pretty for them).
6. Get a hobby that involves making something useful. Can be something simple like matches or something hard like building steam engines from iron ore. Mine is making shoes. May sound odd as a hobby, but I can damn sure make money off of it in a pinch and feed my family.
7. Do yourself a favor, even in a short term Katrina style disaster or a tornado, try not to panic. Panic kills.