Disaster has been hitting America and surrounding areas hard lately. The images we see on our screens are shocking — homes reduced to rubble and streets covered in flooded waters. It’s heart wrenching to watch people’s lives become turned upside down, one flood, hurricane or earthquake at a time.
It’s hard not to think about what you would do in the same situation. Are you prepared to evacuate your home or shelter in place? Do you have the right supplies in your emergency preparedness kit? Do you even have an emergency preparedness kit? Nobody knows what their future holds, but being prepared is always a good way to live.
No matter where you live in the country, this is your wake-up call to prepare yourself and your home for an emergency.
Have a Plan
Nobody expects to deal with an emergency, and it really isn’t pleasant to think about one. But planning for one now could save lives and possessions.
What constitutes an emergency in your area and life? It could be widespread, like a flood from weather or an earthquake, or it could affect only your family — like a house fire. Think through the possibilities for the area in which you live and imagine what you would do if you were faced with any of those scenarios. For example, if a wildfire suddenly shifted directions and put your house in its path, you wouldn’t shelter in place; you would escape as quickly as possible. How would you get everyone out of the house? What would you need in that escape? Where is the best place to keep supplies for easy access?
It’s a good idea to walk through each scenario with everyone in your family. Take your children to the window and demonstrate what they should do to get out if they can’t leave through their doorway. Designate a person to be in charge of locating pets. Decide, together, where everyone will go to meet — by the mailbox or to a favorite tree. In a house fire, having a designated place will ensure all people are accounted for quickly.
Think about all the steps you’ll need to take with insurance and disaster relief companies as well. This disaster checklist is a great way to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Stock an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Your emergency preparedness kit should contain items that can keep you and each household member alive for at least 72 hours. Think of everything you need in a day, considering extra circumstances that could pop up in an emergency, and multiply all of that by three.
At a minimum, your emergency kit needs:
- One gallon of water per person per day. You’ll need a three-day supply for an evacuation, and a two-week supply if you’re sheltering in place. A portable filtration system is also a good idea.
- Enough non-perishable items to keep all household members fed for three days for an evacuation, or two weeks if you shelter in place.
- Try to pick things that have a three- to five-year shelf life.
- Some ideas include: tuna, chili, crackers, peanut butter, dried fruit, hard candy, chewing gum, canned fruit, canned chicken, fruit snacks, granola bars, cereal bars, oatmeal packets, canned soup, protein bars.
- Think about how you’ll need to prepare each item (for example, an oatmeal packet will need a bowl, spoon and water) and include those items.
- Don’t pack food you or your children don’t like.
- Remember to pack a can opener.
- First aid kit
- Flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
- Battery-operated radio
- A whistle to signal for help
- Local maps
- Moist towelettes
Also, think about including things like:
- Non-prescription medications, like pain relievers
- Important documents — copies of insurance records, bank account records, passports, birth certificates, etc.
- Cash. Use small bills
- Sleeping bags, warm blankets, or emergency blankets
- Surgical masks
- Duct tape
- Plastic sheeting
- A change of clothing that is suited to your climate
- A medicine dropper and household chlorine bleach for disinfecting water
- Matches and candles – keep them in a waterproof container
- Paper and pencil
Now, think about your individual needs. Do you have a baby who needs diapers and formula? Does someone in your family depend on a prescription medication? Think of what you depend on each day, and include things like:
- Prescription medications
- Bottles and formula
- Diapers, wipes, and diaper cream
- Glasses and contact lens solution
- Pet food
- Feminine supplies
- Games, books, and comfort objects for children
Update your kit each year. The New Year, when everything is fresh and you’re making goals, is a great time to think about it. Replace expired food and clothes that have been outgrown. Reassess your family’s needs as children grow.
Hopefully, you’ll never find a need for your disaster preparedness kit, but keeping one on hand will give you great peace of mind.
Do you know how to work with your insurance company after a disaster? New Life Restoration can help you every step of the way. Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a flood, fire, or something else, we’ll be by your side. Give us a call at (805) 925-1600, or contact us online.