How Should I Prepare For A Natural Disaster?

flooded yard with downed tree and gate torn off hinge

So you live in a flood zone and want to be prepared- just in case.  Well, whether you are preparing for a flood, an earthquake, or any other natural disaster, there are certain things you do not want to be without.  The CDC recommends that you have at least three days of emergency supplies for each family member, and up to two weeks of needed food and water.  It is important to note that three days is the minimum number of days to prepare for.  Keep in mind though, that the disaster is not likely to be completely resolved within three days.  One needs to be prepared for days or weeks away from home, as officials may keep certain areas closed off for extended periods of time before they determine it is safe for people to be in those areas.

What Should I Keep In My Emergency Kit?

backpack

In addition to water, you may want to set aside things such as canned goods, dried fruit and jerky, powdered milk, and the like.  Some individuals will invest in meal packets such as those used by the military.  These can be purchased from theepiccenter.com or beprepared.com to mention just a couple of sources.  I have noticed them in WalMart stores as well.  Another place that often stocks these types of items is outdoor stores.  You could also store away nuts, beans, and potato flakes.  One thing to keep in mind is to avoid storing heavy items in your kit.  While peanut butter is a great idea since it does not have to be refrigerated and lasts a long time, too many jars would be difficult to carry in a hurried evacuation.  Be sure to switch items out periodically.  Even though many of these food products are long-lasting, they still become less than enjoyable- and in some cases dangerous- after a while.

Some Things You May Not Want To Forget  

open backpack containing toothpaste and other emergency items

Don’t forget toilet paper and personal cleaning supplies.  Some may wish to include things such as Q-tips, cotton balls, or fingernail clippers.  It is easy to get carried away with collecting supplies, but remember to include anything you absolutely cannot do without.  Investing in some inexpensive plates, bowls, and cups is also something to think about.  Medications are an important addition to your emergency kit, as are important papers, some cash and credit cards.  Power may be out after a natural disaster such as an earthquake or storm, so it is a good idea to at least have a little cash on hand.

Is There Somewhere I Can Get Help In An Emergency?

water, nuts, and other prepackaged foods

Although communities try to provide shelters and other resources, the demand for aid may be greater than what assistive agencies are able to provide.  So, it is prudent to ensure you take precautions to provide for your family to the best of your ability.  Again, while the CDC suggests a three day supply at minimum, it would behoove you to gather supplies to last as long as possible with the very real chance that you will be unable to obtain necessities once the disaster has begun.  Now, this does not mean you need to build a bunker; but you do want to be as prepared as possible.  Hopefully, you have friends or family members who would be willing to let you stay with them for a while.  Or- perhaps you know someone who would be willing to lend you an RV or some sort of camper.

Are There Any Special Circumstances I Should Take Into Consideration? 

toilet paper, bandages, medicine, and other emergency items

If you have infants, it would be wise to include some diapers and other such needs in your kit.  The same principle would apply for pets.  Keep some extra pet food in your kit, so your furry friends will not be left to scavenge.

pet supplies

If you want to take it a step further, you may want to keep in mind what was brought out about shelters being overloaded.  Some individuals may want to put a tent in their emergency kit.  Others may be able to invest in a small tent trailer, camper, or motor home.  Of course, not everyone would be able to or want to do this; but doing so may make a disaster experience just a little more bearable.  The most important thing to keep in your emergency kit is caution and safety- be careful out there.

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