We don’t all live with rainbows and sunshine. You’ve got to take the unforeseen into consideration. Eventually some kind of disaster will strike your family. The event doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge natural disaster (like a housefire, tornado or earthquake) but there are many small things that can be considered a disaster.
Everyone is better off when you have a family emergency plan.
Where Would You Go?
First and foremost, IF there were an event …. where would go you? Would you try to stay at the house and shelter in place? Would you ‘bug out’ to another location? Just where? and how?
It’s better to have thought about things beforehand and practice with your family. Kids especially (and those prone to panic) need to feel secure in knowing what to do. Think through different scenarios and plan accordingly.
For instance… if there’s a house fire where would you all meet? Designate a spot, be it a big tree in the back yard or the corner lamppost. Plan and talk about it so you (and the kids) know what to do and where to go. If something happens at school do the kids know a safe route home by foot? Walk it with them. If something happens while you’re at work do you know an alternate route home?
Do you have a backup plan? Is your backup location Grandma’s house? The nearest campground? Think and talk about the possibilities with your family. Make a plan and make certain that everyone knows the plan.
How Will You Keep In Touch?
Many times when there’s a disaster, be that an ice storm, a tornado, (or other event) the cell phone lines will be overwhelmed and/or non-functional. Do you have a land line? If not…. did you at least keep an old house phone that can be plugged into the phone box?
Have you put ‘long distance’ walkies in your kid’s backpacks (and your bug out bag)? AND checked the batteries? Do you have a backup cell phone charger for when the lines start working again? This would be a solar charger or a hand crank model.
Do you have a hand crank radio? Having one will help you know what’s going on around you. Do you have ample food and water for a few days (at least), and food that doesn’t have to be cooked (such as canned tuna, or ravioli, or soups…) Do you have your meds and first aid supplies? Did you put back some pet food?
You should have a go bag for each member of your family in a handy location such as a coat closet. You should also have a handy container of food/water for at least a couple of days (the longer the better) and water. If you keep it stashed in the same closet it’s easy to grab and go.
Remember that kids will get anxious and scared. Make sure you have something for them such as some hot chocolate, hard candy, coloring book… …
Anything you can do to prepare for an emergency will aid your family in getting through the event in a better position.
Fortune favors the prepared.
Emergency Supplies Checklist
For most emergencies expect to keep at least enough food to feed each person in your household for 3-5 days.
NON-PERISHABLE FOODS & BEVERAGES
Canned soups with pull tab
Canned meat with pull tab
Tuna fish sealed pouch or pull tab
canned vegetables with pull tab
canned fruit with pull tab
peanut butter crackers
Can opener for cans that don’t have a pull tab
Water – 1 gallon per person for day for drinking . Add more if you’ll be using it for personal hygiene. A 5 day supply for a family of 4 would equal 20 gallons of drinking water
NICE TO HAVE
Matches in a waterproof container
Extra Batteries – AAA, AA, D, C, 9V
Small Tool Kit with Pliers, Wrench, Screwdrivers
Hand Cranked Radio
Emergency Phone that doesn’t require electricity
Cell phone with charger
Whistle to signal for help
Household Fire Extinguisher
Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper (when diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.)
PAPER GOODS FOR MEALS: This becomes important when there is no water with which to wash dishes
Garbage bags (13 gal. for personal hygiene items and 30 gal. for normal garbage)
First aid kit – see first aid kit checklist for items to be included
First Aid Manual
Feminine hygiene supplies
Blankets/Sheets or Sleeping Bag
Extra Clothing & Shoes appropriate for the weather
Pet Food & Supplies
Extra set of house keys and car keys
Social Security cards
Inventory of household goods
Stocks and bonds
List with Important Phone Numbers