At some point in life, many of us are forced to deal with a natural disaster. Whether it is a tornado, volcano, blizzard, fire, hurricane, or earthquake, these natural disasters can put our families in danger. This is not to scare you, of course, but to stress the importance of having a family emergency plan. The key, however, is to be prepared. That is why I want to stress why having a family emergency plan is so important.
A family emergency plan covers how you and your family can stay safe before, during and after a natural disaster. Depending on the natural disaster that happens, it could take days before organizations like the Red Cross can get access to you. June is National Safety Month and I am partnering with COUNTRY Financial to share some simple steps to keep you prepared for any natural disaster even before any additional help can arrive.
Starting your Family Emergency Plan
Knowing the natural disasters that can happen in your area is one of the first parts of starting your plan. I mean, if you live in California, earthquakes and fires are a very real threat, whereas in Florida, you need to be more concerned with hurricanes. While here in Atlanta, depending on which part you live in, there may be frequent threats of floods or tornadoes.
So, while preparing for either is similar, your plan does need to be different. I like to have my ideas on paper, this way everyone in my family knows what my ideas are. Keep your plans in a Zip-Lock bag, and tape it to the top of the lid of your survival tote. Doing so, will not only make the list easily accessible to you but also your family.
Supplies are pretty straightforward. The end goal is to be able to survive at least a few weeks without electricity. Your supplies will need to be easily moveable in case you are forced to relocate to a safer location. So, you will need some easy to move totes or secure boxes. I mean, if you must leave quickly, you do not want to be digging through your kitchen cabinets for food to take with you.
When you sit down to make your family emergency plan, you need to figure out your food and water situation. Now, if you do not have access to fresh water, you will need to include bleach or another method to purify your water. I always plan for least 10 gallons of water per person.
Other essential supplies to include would be medications and personal items. All of these items need to be secure in your totes, as soon as it is determined that you will be affected by a natural disaster. Personal things like baby wipes are essential. You can use them to clean up and maybe even feel a little human for a bit.
Also, do not forget about your pets. Always keep vaccines up to date and the paperwork in an easily accessible spot. Oh, and do not forget to keep a list of pet-friendly shelters in case of an evacuation. No one wants to leave their fur babies behind, so make sure you are prepared for them too.
Food and Water
One of the easiest ways to be prepared for a natural disaster is to shop year-round for it. Non-perishable foods are essential to surviving a natural disaster. Every pay check you get, purchase a few cans of food to your grocery list. Once you get home, store them in your totes. Out of sight, out of mind, is my motto. If you are a couponer, stocking up on food year-round is a little easier too. Know your store’s sales rotations and plan your coupons around them. Every cent counts when you are still trying to live while building up a small stockpile to live off of.
Build a water surplus. Let me add this too – do not pay for water if you do not have to.
So, how can you build a water surplus? It’s simple. Save your water and juice containers throughout the year. Say you live on the East Coast where hurricanes are expected, once there is a threat, fill your containers with water and freeze them. Now, you have ice for food, as well as good drinking water. And if you don’t drink that water, you can bathe with it.
Practical Safety Tools
One of the first practical safety tools is a generator. While it is a useful safety tool, it also may be impractical depending on where you live and the natural disasters that you may encounter. Generators rely on gasoline, propane, or natural gas. So, if you have a way to keep your fuel stocked year-round, you are great. But remember fuels like gasoline do go bad, and bad gas will render your generator useless.
Imagine you are going camping for a week. Many of the same items that you need for camping are the same for natural disasters. Matches, lighters, hand saws, hammers, nails, and tarps are some great things to have on hand. If possible, I would also have extra wood available. Should your structure need minor repairs to remain livable, you can now make those repairs. You will also want plenty of bleach, dish soap, pots and pans. Do not forget your camp stove either. With this, you can not only cook but also boil water for drinking and cleaning.
Other necessities to have on hand are flashlights, batteries, and a weather radio.
You will also want as much cash on hand as you can afford. With so many families living pay check to pay check, the thought of a natural disaster can be devastating financially. COUNTRY Financial can help you protect the things your family cares about, so you can feel prepared no matter what comes your way. For more on COUNTRY Financial and how to #takesimplesteps, to keep your family safe, visit them at countryfinancial.com, or on Facebook and Twitter.
Natural disasters are horrible. They can be stressful and downright miserable. The good news is that there is no reason to be caught off guard. Part of your family’s safety relies on your family emergency plan, and how well you can execute it. Whether it is supplies, finances, or tools – a plan can make this whole situation more manageable.
Do you have a family emergency plan? If so, what are your tips and tricks to keep your family safe? If not, what is holding you back?
This post has been sponsored by COUNTRY Financial. All thoughts and opinions are my own.