Are you prepared for disasters?
No matter where you live, there is always a chance of a natural or man-made disaster happening. For some, it might be hurricanes; for others, tornadoes. Some live in places where earthquakes are frequent; others live where there is lots of cold, snow, and ice--or on the opposite end of the spectrum, where wildfires occur.
If you and your family have a plan, and supplies on hand before a disaster happens, chances are that you'll be able to get through the disaster with more confidence, less fear, and more comfort than those who weren't prepared.
September is National Preparedness Month, a time when everyone should inform themselves about the disasters that could occur in their area; to make a plan to survive any disaster that might happen; and to start making sure that the supplies they might need are on hand BEFORE a possible disaster strikes.
Photo taken by me
No matter where you live, there are bound to be weather emergencies that you need to know about. Whether you live in hurricane country, earthquake-prone areas, or places where the snow can be measured in feet, not inches, you need to have a way to keep up-to-the-minute on your local weather.
If the power is out, it's comforting to have something like this NOAA Weather Alert Radio that will let you know what the weather is doing, so you can make plans for your family's safety.
This Adventurer unit is an emergency solar hand-crank AM/FM/NOAA Weather radio, flashlight, and charger, all in one. Charge it using your computer's USB port, DC or AC power, hand crank, or by solar. No need to worry about storing extra batteries for this.
No home should be without a way to receive the latest weather and news information.
This is a "green energy" product.
Tons of preparedness information on this site
If you're new to emergency preparedness, Ready.gov has a short, four and a half-minute video which introduces you to the subject. You can find the video here. The title of the video is Preparing Makes Sense.
Be sure to look around the Ready.gov site while you're there. There's tons of information there that will help you and your family get prepared for natural disasters.
Photo courtesy of Brian Smithson on Flickr
One of the most important things you can do to prepare ahead of a disaster is to make sure you store some water. The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person, per day--and don't forget to store water for your pets too.
One gallon of water per person per day is not much at all, but it's a start. You'll still need water for things other than drinking, so the more you can store, the better off you'll be.
For information and instructions on how to start storing water, see How To Store Water For An Emergency.
You can also read more about storing water on the Ready.gov page.
Photo courtesy of Ingrid Richter on Flickr
You never know when the stores will be closed
Here in Vermont where I live, the thing that gets everybody rushing to the store is an approaching Nor'Easter, or an ice storm. In your area, the store shelves might empty because of an impending hurricane.
If you want to be prepared for a possible disaster, one of the best things you can get into the habit of doing is keeping a well-stocked pantry. Whenever you're doing your regular grocery shopping, pick up a few extra cans of something, or an extra package of a non-perishable food. Pretty soon your pantry will be full.
It's important to remember to store what you eat, and eat what you store, so that you don't end up throwing out a lot of wasted food.
Don't forget to stock a manual can opener, and some paper plates, cups, and utensils too, for those times when the power goes out.
Here again, Ready.gov recommends that each family should have three-days' worth of food on hand. That's a pathetically small amount of food, considering that a disaster could go on for more than three days, with stores closed, but for a lot of people, especially those who shop every day for what they need instead of keeping food on hand, three days is a good start.
As always, remember to stock food for your pets and/or outdoors animals too.
Photo taken by me
Add to your preparedness pantry
This handbook contains far more information to help you prepare for disasters than I could ever include in a short article like this, so I urge you to check it out.
The book goes into more detail on the food and water storage I've talked about, as well as many other important topics, such as, personal protection, backup heating, evacuation, financial preparations, first aid, and more.
This handbook has something for everyone, from those just starting to think about a plan for their family's preparedness, to those who have been prepared for years.
It's also convenient to have all this information at your fingertips in printed form, instead of looking it up on the Internet, since, in a disaster, the power will probably be out.