Guest Post from Carlee
There are some disasters in life that we simply cannot prepare for; the loss of a loved one, a sudden change in employment status or an unexpected illness. However, there are other natural catastrophes that we are able to plan for. Typhoons, earthquakes, hurricanes and fires happen every year in locations all around the globe.
Some locations, especially in the United States, can be prone to disasters more so than others. Southeast Florida and the Keys are disposed to frequently being ravaged by hurricanes. The Northwest is no stranger to devastating wildfires and the Midwest has been exposed to flooding several times over the past decade.
As more and more stories begin emerging of families and individuals who were ill-prepared for these disasters, don’t you think it might be time to make sure you have properly safeguarded yourself against a possible natural disaster? The following are eleven great tips and ideas that will help ensure that you and your family won’t become a part of the statistic, but instead, one of those that was properly prepared.
Write a Plan
Having a plan of attack when a disaster strikes is one of the best and most basic precautions you can take to make sure both you and your family are properly briefed and prepared for when a disaster strikes. Ready.gov has an excellent checklist and template to base your own plan off of. You can also check the BE(Prepared) guide which has a lot of great tips on getting you thinking about what is and what is not important when a disaster strikes.
Be Device Ready
Relying on air sirens generally means you are waiting until the final moments to receive warning of an impending disaster. To give yourself more time and a head start on anything dangerous coming your way, consider signing up for disaster alerts both on your home computer and your smart phone. There are a variety of apps and programs like these and most are free of charge. Take a look at the Pacific Disaster Center’s app for iOS and Android.
Red Cross’ ‘Safe and Well’ Listings
When a disaster strikes it can often be quite chaotic to try in get in touch with loved ones and family, especially if they reside out of state. To help make this easier, the Red Cross has created their “Safe and Well Listings”. This portion of their website acts as a central hub for people in a disaster area to record their current status so that others can check in and know that they are safe and being taken care of.
Know Your Supply Bag
In this day and age, it is unlikely that a natural disaster would cut off your food and water supply for weeks on end. But, just because this remains unlikely you should still prepare for the unknown. There are a host of how-to guides and “what to pack” in your bug out bag guides out on the net. Make sure you have things like matches, candles and a basic first aid kit in stow. FEMA has a great guide on putting together a supply bag that you can read here.
Pack and Store Food that is Nonperishable
The majority, if not all of these guides boil down to keeping non-perishables on hand. This includes things like canned goods, jerky, energy bars and other goods that have specifically been made to withstand the test of time. Costco has a whole portion of their online site dedicated to these types of foods. Depending on how far down the rabbit hole you’d like to go, you can fork out as little as $50 for some of these supplies to as much as four thousand dollars.
Dress in Layers
When a disaster strikes you must be properly prepared for the unknown. Things that might have previously been available like heat and cooling may be absent as the stations that bring these services to your home may be out of commission. For this reason it is important to have access to clothes with multiple layers. Multiple layers allow you to put on and take off clothing pieces to properly acclimate to different temperature environments.
Flashlights and Hand-Crank Radios
Having proper lighting and access to public announcements is another must for any emergency situation. Solar or crank type radios are the perfect solution to this problem. Most Army/Navy supply stores carry these types of things as well as big name camping and outdoor supply businesses.
Don’t Count on Clean Water
Relying on water from your tap to be acceptable for consumption is a notion that you should immediately dismiss. Depending on the type of disaster that you are dealing with, water can become contaminated and unfit for drinking. Make sure you have access to enough clean water for both drinking and cooking and possible washing.
Keeping the Important Things Safe
Purchasing a waterproof and fireproof lockbox or container is a great way of ensuring that documents and currency is kept safe and secure no matter what might be going on outside. These sort of boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the quality and size they can range from $30 to $150. For a good overview on brands and sizes check out Walmart’s selection here.
It is also a good idea to have a separate list of things you should grab if you have enough time to evacuate (photos, important family heirlooms etc…). Remember this list is to be used only if you have time to spare and tacking on a few extra items while evacuating won’t hinder your progress.
Medications and Prescriptions
This harkens back to the assemblage of your bug out bag. When putting in all of the other necessary staples don’t forget to add things like Asprin, antiseptic ointment and any medications and prescriptions that you and your family need on a day to day basis.