The weather has been scary lately, even terrifying, which is why it's so important to know how to prepare for an emergency. The images of homes surrounded by FEET of water, not merely inches, and displaced families are heartbreaking. We feel compassion for those who are suffering now and facing uncertain futures. We may also wonder if we could face a similar situation and that makes us feel utterly powerless.
Preparing for emergencies and coming up with a Plan of Action can empower you and give you a sense of control. Here's how to prepare for an emergency. Get started right now!
1. Talk with Your Family
Talk about your situation with your spouse or partner, and be sure to include your children. Children depend on the grown ups in their lives to keep them safe, and knowing the family's plan, and perhaps contributing to it, will help them feel involved and prepared. Getting everyone in on the planning helps each family member know how to prepare for an emergency so everyone is on the same page.
2. Stock up on Water
Years ago I started buying water from a machine at the grocery store because the water from the tap didn't taste good. I bought a few containers, and rotate them, being careful not to let my supply get low. But I also keep some bottled water on hand for emergencies.
It's good to have food that is ready to eat and doesn't need to be refrigerated, like crackers, peanut butter, cereal, canned fruit, raisins, or other dried fruit. Remember ALLERGIES! I'm allergic to wheat, rice, and a lot of other things, so I don't eat bread or crackers. I store gluten free cereal, Spam, and Vienna Sausages, which are also gluten free. Food is of course necessary for our physical health, but during a time of stress it can be nourishing emotionally and socially too.
4. Sturdy, Reuseable Containers
Backpacks and insulated bags will help you keep everything together in an easy to find place. If you have pets, a sturdy carrier is necessary to keep them safe.
5. Personal Health and Hygiene Items
Make sure your emergency kit contains medication, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and baby wipes. You might also want to add a comb, some extra underwear and a change of clothes.
6. Keep Your Car's Gas Tank Filled
If you are in an area that is facing severe weather, fill your gas tank. That way if you have to evacuate, you are more likely to be able to get out of town without running out.
Credit and debit cards are convenient, and you may need them in some places. But if the power is off, the cards can't be used. It's good to have some cash, and even some change for vending machines.
Thanks to the Internet we have libraries of information at our fingertips, and can easily track storms (or fires), find instructions for preparing your home - like boarding up windows, putting furniture up on bricks and more. You can also find evacuation routes, gas stations, possible shelters and motels. Always be prepared!
9. Record Storage on Your Phone
Birth and marriage certificates, military service records, financial records, vaccination records (for people and pets), diplomas and transcripts are certainly records you should take with you. You can take digital pictures or scan them, and store the images on your phone, tablet, or PC. Using an SD card can save storage space and make it easy to transfer images from one device to another. And don't forget insurance records!
Our devices, phones, tablets and PC's can be real sanity savers and keep us informed about what's happening and connected to family and friends. Chargers can keep our devices going if we lose electricity. Some chargers can be recharged by turning a crank, or through solar power, and some even have a radio built in. These are great for emergencies.
Preparing for an emergency takes planning and effort. But the confidence and peace of mind it brings is well worth it.