In the wake of devastating fires and several powerful hurricanes, emergency preparedness is more important than ever. It is imperative to be prepared for natural disasters and to have a plan (and supplies) in place.
Make An Emergency 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. While our family is not likely to encounter a hurricane here on the North Dakota Prairie–we HAVE encountered harsh summer storms, tornadoes, flooding and yes, even (or especially) blizzards. When we encounter these disasters, we are able to do so in a much more calm manner because we are prepared and have 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 in an Emergency?
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.
Since my children are older and are not always home with me–it is important that we make a plan to stay in touch during an emergency–and set up a meeting place, where we can gather and regroup.
How Will You Stay In Touch in an Emergency?
You want to be able to contact loved ones during an 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. We even have a solar powered charger in case of a total loss of electricity.
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.
Remember that in the event of an emergency–cellular service may be iffy at best so 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. I recommend a weather radio that is either battery or crank powered.
What Emergency 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 the 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 (do NOT use the camp stove indoors!), hot water, and instant cocoa mix makes it even more pleasant. Be prepared and you’ll greatly increase your chances of making it through the emergency or disaster just fine.
I have a special printable Emergency Preparation checklist just for Dakotapam readers! You can get yours here: