Disclaimer: This page and it’s information is not all inclusive nor should it be considered as official legal or medical advice. The information here is our opinion as to what we would do in preparation of or during an emergency. OF COURSE if you need emergency assistance, DIAL 911 !
Everyone should prepare for the “what if’s” in life. No plan is ever complete, they are ever changing. All that said, here is what we recommend and things that we do to prepare for the emergencies in life that are sure to come. We keep it simple, but well thought out. We practice our plan so that everyone involved will know what to do when an emergency strikes. No crazy stuff here, just plain simple common sense.
- Make a plan. Put it on paper, store that paper where everyone knows where it is at. A three ring binder works great. Also save the plan in the cloud. Should something happen to the paper copy, everyone still has access to it. I personally recommend dropbox. You can get quite a bit of free storage there and if you need more, they will gladly sell you a plan.
- Create a list of your emergency contacts. Who do you need to call for (fill in the blanks here). Next door neighbors names and phone numbers. Next of kin, doctors, local medical facilities, utilities companies (for power outages, gas leak, etc). Numbers for second and third “retreat to” locations in case you need to leave the area (think fire).
- Gather all of your important legal papers in one place and keep them there for quick access (i.e., titles, will, insurance information, etc). Remember that bank safe deposit boxes may not be available when you need them.
- Create a list of current medications that you are on and be sure to keep the list up to date. Also include on the list where you get prescription medications filled.
- Designate a place to meet and make sure everyone knows where that place is at. For instance, if the home catches on fire, everyone meet at the tree in the front yard. If there’s a tornado, everyone take cover in this closet, etc.
- Be sure to list all the necessary items that you need to grab quickly if you should need to leave.
- Create a bug out bag for everyone and any pets that you may have. We will cover this more later.
- If you have small pets, do you have carriers to move them? Have you checked ahead to see the if location that you are going to accepts pets. Be sure to pack plenty of pet food, water and any medications that they may need.
- If you have large animals. Do they have safe shelter/higher ground? Do you have plenty of food, water and mediations (including injury treatments) on hand to last for several days? If they should need to be moved, do you have the equipment to move them quickly and a pre-arranged place to move them to?
- Fill the fuel tanks on ALL vehicles and equipment if you know there is a storm coming. Even if you do not use the piece of equipment during the emergency, you still have extra fuel on hand should you need it.
- Food. Remember if the power goes out the refrigerator and freezer will lose it’s ability to cool. Open the doors to these appliances as little as possible. Eat the food from the fridge first because the freezer can keep items cool longer due to those items already being frozen and they will take longer to thaw out. You should always keep plenty of can food on hand. Rotate it out through out the year so as to keep a fresh supply shelved. Bread and pasta type items do not store well, avoid stock piling too much of these items. Rice stores well IF you put it in a bug/rodent proof container.
- Water. Always keep some potable (drinking water) on hand. If you have time to prepare, stock up on as much drinking water as you can. A general rule of thumb is one gallon of drinking water per person per day. Remember also that you are going to need water for toiletries and such. The best way to stock water to flush a toilet is to fill the bathtub with water. You can scoop water from the bath tub and put it in the toilet tank as needed to flush. Remember, if the power is out, so could be your water supply, so stock up.
- Keep on hand plenty of batteries for the devices that you have.
- Be sure to have a working NOAA radio in the house.
- Keep a few candles in the house. Please be safe when using them! (Battery operated lighting is preferred).
- If you have an outdoor gas grill, keep a spare tank filled at all times. If the power goes out, you can still cook OUTSIDE. NEVER bring any kind of grill into an enclosed area!!
- Waterproof matches and grill lighters are a great thing to have around the home.
- Keep you prescription medications filled and in a location/container where you can grab them quickly. Always keep them in the original container. You may not be the person administering them later.
- Keep a good supply of over-the-counter medications that you would normally take and also keep bandages, ointments, sunscreen, bug bite meds and bug spray handy.
- Learn basic first aid. The life you save may be your own.
- Keep a few gallons of bleach around. This stuff stores easily. Bleach is good for cleaning up after a disaster. Go online and research how to use it for cleaning. Add that information to your emergency plan.
- A Box of good quality latex gloves are always good to keep around. Things can get kinda of messy during an emergency.
- Good heavy duty work gloves and a heavy duty pair of rubber gloves come in handy when having to clean up after a storm.
- Good quality duct tape is good to have on hand. So is heavy (4 mil) plastic. Go to a home improvement store and purchase a box of commercial grade plastic bags. All of these items will come in handy covering up or cleaning up.
- About a 100 feet of rope is good to have. Things may need tying down.
- Water proof and warm boots are good to have as is a good rain suit. Umbrellas are useless in a strong wind.
- Baby wipes for cleaning yourself up.
- Plenty of toilet paper. You will never have too much.
- In your vehicle you need the following: A good spare tire properly inflated. A jack, handle and lug wrench to chance it with. The KNOWLEDGE to change a flat tire. Keep the fuel tank full if you are warned of a possible storm. Never let the fuel get below 1/4 of a tank. If there is an emergency in the middle of the night and you need to go, there is no guarantee that a fuel station will be open. Jumper cables should be kept in the trunk along with a blanket, a few gallons of water, baby wipes, extra clothes for the current season, a signaling device (both audible and visual) for alerting someone to your location. Food. Keep a few energy bars in the vehicle. Rotate them out every ninety days. A cellphone charger. If you need to leave your location during heavy snow, rain or fire, remember that just because the road is normally clear doesn’t mean that it is now.
- The “bug-out-bag” that i mentioned earlier. It does not need to be as complicated as some folks on the internet make it out to be. In it’s simplest form, it is no more than a bag or backpack that has the basic supplies in it that you would need away from home for a few days in an emergency. Cellphone/laptop charger. Clothes for the current season. Under garments. A couple pairs of pant and a couple shirts. Medications (both prescribed and over-the-counter). A copy of your emergency plan. A manual can opener. Waterproof matches. Bottled water. Energy bars. Cash (remember, ATM’s may not be working if the power is out). Of course you can add more. The point is to have a bag packed and ready to go in case you need to leave quickly. Make sure that it is not too have for you to carry a distance.
- Apps that we like to have on our cellphones, (iPhones in this case). NOAA, The Weather Channel, Wunderground, My Radar, FEMA, Weatherbug and here in North Carolina, WRAL Weather App. All of these are free and can be downloaded from the App Store. Most of these apps can be configured to alert you in case of a weather emergency.
- If you need to go to a public shelter, remember the word PUBLIC. Everything that you take, do or say is public. They are a sometimes a necessity, but are not always comfortable, quit and defiantly not private!
There’s always more that can be added or deleted to the list. I hope that this gives you a good solid starting point to work from. Remember than in an emergency, knowledge and preparation is power.
No matter how “bad” you think it is or the mass media tells you it is, it’s more-tha-likely not the end of the world, only a adjustment. Level heads will prevail.