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Preparing for Disasters
Do You Know What Disasters You Should Be Preparing For? Should you leave or stay and what items should you have on hand? Read on below for all the information that you will need to feel secure and more prepared for your disaster.
It doesn’t matter where you live, chances are that sooner or later you’ll face some sort of a disaster that will leave you without power, water, or access to buy more. It could be a natural disaster like a hurricane, snow storm, flood, tornado, or earthquake. Or it could be a manmade disaster that has the power grid failing or requires you to stay put in your home for a few days or even weeks. The world can be a harsh place, but there’s something we can do. We can prepare for the disasters most likely to occur in our area.
Which Disaster are you Preparing for?
Your first step in your own disaster preparedness should be to find out what types of emergency situations you need to get ready for. Take a few minutes to review the types of disasters your area is prone to. This is particularly important for natural disasters.
If you live in Florida or the South Eastern US coast, you should prepare for hurricane season. If you live in the North East or south of the Great Lakes, you should get ready for big snow storms. If you’re in the Mid-West, or South West, or Texas/Oklahoma chances are you’ll come across a tornado or two. In California, you may prepare for earthquakes.
Next, think about possible man-made disasters. If you live near a dam, you may need a plan of action for flooding. If you live near a nuclear plant, you should think about a way to get out quickly if something were to happen at the plant. You get the idea. What disasters we prepare for will be different for a lot of us and what sort of emergency plan you have will depend on those variables.
Should You Stay or Should you go?
Once you have your list of disasters that you need to prepare for, it may be a good idea to consider if and when you would try to prepare to stay at your home and ride it out, and when it may be time to evacuate. Obviously those decisions may be outside of your control, such as in the event of a mandatory evacuation, but there will also be plenty of times when the decision is up to you.
Think about what makes the most sense to you and your family. If you are able to stay put, you can take care of issues as they pop up and prevent further damage. If a storm blows out a window, you can board it up and prevent water from coming in for example. At other times, it may be safer and more convenient to get out of the disaster’s way.
Make A Preparedness Plan For Your Family
Let’s face it. Sooner or later your family will encounter a natural disaster or similar emergency event that requires you to jump into action to stay safe and sound. Doing so will become much easier when you go in prepared and with a plan. Here are three basic questions that you should ask yourself to formulate an emergency preparedness plan for your family.
Where Will You Go?
The first question you need to ask yourself is where you will go when an emergency arises. Will you stay at home and shelter in place? Will you head out of town and evacuate? If you are heading out, where will you go and where will you stay?
These are important questions and you don’t want to make those decisions when you are in the middle of a disaster. Those are stressful times and it can be hard to make smart decisions quickly in those situations. A big part of your emergency preparedness plan should be to think through possible scenarios and then get the information you need ahead of time. For example, figure out what routes you can take to get out of the area, determine where you want to go if possible, and then get the contact information for a hotel or the people you’ll be staying with.
How Will You Stay In Touch?
There is nothing scarier than not being able to get in touch with loved ones during a disaster or emergency event. Just as important is being able to get news and emergency alerts or announcements. Think about how you will accomplish this both while you’re on the road and when you’re staying in your home or emergency shelter.
Making sure everyone has a mobile phone is a great start. Don’t forget that these devices need to be charged. Having chargers, including car chargers with you is a must. An additional battery, or a backup power supply will come in very handy as well.
Be conservative with your device usage to make the battery power last as long as possible. It’s important to talk to your kids about this ahead of a disaster and remind them regularly.
Don’t rely on just your smart phone for news and communication. A backup plan will come in handy when you can’t get a good connection or run out of power on your device. Designate a meeting point or a person that everyone contacts when you can’t get a hold of each other. Have a backup solution for finding out what’s going on like a weather radio.
What Supplies Do You Need?
The more prepared you are, the safer and more comfortable you’ll be when the inevitable happens. Depending on what natural disaster you face, where you live, who is part of your family, and simple things like weather will determine the supplies you need.
Start with the basics you need for survival including food, water, shelter, and medication. Don’t forget about your pets. From there, start thinking about creature comforts like light, entertainment, and the likes. Having a headlamp and a good book can make waiting out a power outage a lot more pleasant. Add a cup of hot chocolate made with a camping stove, hot water, and instant cocoa mix makes it even more pleasant. Now let’s look at 5 must have supplies to have on hand.
Five Must Have Supplies
No matter where you live, what your personal situation is, or what type of disasters you may be facing, there are some basic supplies everyone should have on hand “just in case”. Here are five things that you should stock and store at all times to make sure you can make it no matter what life throws at you.
Let’s start with the most important and most urgent item on the list – water. You can make it a surprisingly long time without food, power, and all sorts of other stuff. You can’t make it very long without a reliable source of drinking water.
We’ve become so reliant on our faucets that it’s easy to forget that we should store water for a few days whenever something happens. One of the first things you should do when you’re prepping for an imminent emergency is to store some water. Buy a few bottles or gallons at the store, or fill up containers at home. Keep filtered water on hand, I recommend using a Berkey Water filter system at all times, not just in emergency situations. Berkey is more than a filter its a treatment for your water removing almost all bacteria and viruses from you water, something you definitely want in times of disasters or emergencies. Remember, if your going to be storing drinkable water for longer periods of time having bleach on hand is a must!
Non-Perishable, Ready-To-Eat Food
While human beings can go a surprisingly long period of time without food, involuntary fasting isn’t particularly pleasant. Keep a few ready to eat foods in your pantry at all times including peanut butter, crackers, protein bars, and canned foods that you can eat without heating. It helps to stick with items that you eat on a regular basis, so you can rotate through this food store and don’t risk having it go bad.
In addition start to stock up if the time of year approaches where natural disasters can occur. Don’t forget to bring some of this emergency food supply with you when you need to evacuate. You can’t always rely on others to provide you with food and stores and restaurants along the way may be closed.
The next important item that makes it on the list is a small battery operated weather radio. Keep a set of spare batteries with it as well. This is important because you will need the latest weather and government updates as well as news. Don’t rely on your phone and the internet as your only source for information. The network could go down or overload. This makes an important backup.
Flash Light And Batteries
Things always seem worse in the dark, don’t they? And not just that. It can be downright dangerous to move around outside, or even inside your home without a reliable source of light. Candles will work in a pinch, but they also bring the risk of setting your surroundings on fire. Instead make sure your kit includes several flash lights and spare batteries. Headlamps are particularly helpful when you’re trying to move around get stuff done.
First Aid Kit
Last but not least, let’s talk about a first aid kit. The size of your kit will depend on the size of your family. Start with a standard kit available at your local store and then add any and all medications you and your loved ones take and need. Check this kit and the rest of your disaster supplies regularly to make sure you’re prepared when you need to grab your supplies and leave quickly.
Be prepared for any disaster either natural or man-made and you’ll greatly increase your chances of making it through the emergency just fine. Remember our motto: “Be Prepared, not Scared!”
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