How do you truly prepare for an emergency in these economic times? With all of the natural disasters happening all over the world I believe that it is imperative to have an emergency plan and kit ready…just in case. I was always taught to prepare a 72 hour emergency kit (at the very least) for each person in my household. While I am still in the process of doing this (it takes a while to gather everything), here are a few tips that I have learned along the way:
1. What to Include:
Camping Gear: If you have camping gear (i.e. tents, portable bbq, fishing gear, pots and pans, etc.) have it readily available to take with you in case you need to gather your stuff and leave your home in a hurry. If you don’t have a place to stay for a little while the tents and other camping gear can help you survive for a while.
Food Items: When purchasing food items for my emergency kit I like to purchase food that I know my family will actually eat…not like some of the dehydrated items that come in pre-prepared emergency kits. I purchase things like tuna, beans, spaghetti sauce (and noodles), etc. Think about it – if you are out in the wild fending for yourself because of a natural disaster, what would be worse than eating food that you can’t stand? It would at least give a little light to an otherwise dim situation.
Misc. Items: You can’t forget to also store hygiene products (i.e. feminine items, shampoo and conditioner, brushes / combs, hair ties, towels, razors and shaving cream, etc.), or other things that you use regularly and may not even think about putting into an emergency kit (i.e. trash bags, dish soap, laundry soap, disposable plates, disposable eating utensils, etc.).
Water: Don’t forget the water!!! We should always be drinking plenty of water, but we use water for so many other things, too…and most people don’t think about this. We use water to cook, wash dishes, wash clothing, shower, use the bathroom, etc.
2. How to Store Emergency Items:
I like to store all of my camping and emergency kit items in plastic tubs, which are also numbered. The plastic tubs make it easier to shove into the back of a car and the items are protected from most everything. For storing your water, many times you can purchase 55 gallon drums of water to store in your back yard for fairly cheap. Just make sure you use the correct chemicals to treat the water, or it won’t be usable later. I also like to have several 1 gallon bottles of water on hand in the event that we need to leave our home.
3. Changing Out Items with Expiration Dates:
I also like to number the tubs and keep a complete inventory list, along with food expiration dates, so I can change canned items out prior to the expiration. Every six months I go through my inventory list and take out items that are going to expire in the next 6 months and I replace those items with new items. I can then work that food into the meals I cook so the food doesn’t go to waste.
4. Where to store it:
Store your emergency kit somewhere that is easily accessible. We have all of our camping gear and emergency kits located in the front corner of our garage. This way, if there is an emergency, we can open the garage, pack up, and leave. But, don’t let them get blocked in the garage or a shed where you can’t get to them in a hurry. If it’s an emergency, then you will be in a hurry.
5. Have a plan:
Have an emergency plan in place in case you have to leave your home and you can’t reach your spouse. Our emergency plan consists of meeting at a specific place if we can’t reach each other and we have to leave our home / jobs. We will wait there until we either reach the other person or the other person arrives. You should have at least two destinations in your plan in the event that the first destination is inaccessible.
Always include your children in on your plans. They need to know that Mom and Dad have a plan in advance. Children learn from the time they are in Kindergarten what to do in case of an earthquake, fire, and in some areas tornadoes. They are already being prepared, so let them know what the plan is for your family – the different routes to exit your home, where you will meet, etc. If, for whatever reason, you are separated and you are to meet your family at a school or park in case of an emergency you would be surprised at how children will remember this and tell adults around them that they need to get to that place to meet their family. Kids are smart…don’t underestimate their abilities.
Do you have an emergency kit and plan prepared for your family? Do you know where to meet your family if you are separated?