A Disaster Preparedness Primer

Imagine a major storm hits your area and you lose power for 3 or more days. Do you have a disaster preparedness plan? Could you survive? No individual or property on this planet is insulated from disasters; a disaster or natural calamity, such as an earthquake or hurricane can happen any time without giving out any specific warning signs or signals. To be on the safer side, it is always better that you are a prepper and ready to tackle any catastrophe than a victim.

Disaster preparedness or planning is not difficult, but it takes time and effort. There are also several disaster preparedness kits or tools that can help deal with a hurricane or earthquake preparedness strategies. The first and foremost step towards disaster preparedness is to understand or identify the disasters that are most likely to happen in a specific location or area. Would it require evacuation or would you be able to stay in your home? If evacuation is quite possible, then you should have varied places in mind that would serve as a refuge for your family at the time of the disaster. If the likeliness of staying at home exists, then you must consider some of the essentials that are needed for survival, such as running water, heat, and electricity.

Disaster planning or disaster preparedness kits are imperative aspects of disaster preparedness. Smaller kits should be left inside the vehicle, whereas the larger ones must be placed in an easily accessible area of the house. These disaster preparedness kits must contain multiple sets of clothes for every individual, personal supplies, like soap, shampoo, warm blankets, and toothbrushes. The kits for hurricane or any other form of disaster planning must also include several flashlights and a first-aid kit. A weather radio powered by battery or crank is another important item to be included in these kits. You can get more information on preparing for disasters on your local government websites or ready.gov.

You should also make copies of social security cards, birth certificates, insurance cards, licenses, etc. Put them into a waterproof container so that they remain safe and do not get damaged. A plastic zip lock bag would serve the purpose. You need to have enough cash available so that you are able to survive for many days or weeks. Don’t assume that stopping at a bank would be possible while heading out of town. Disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes can sabotage the entire communication and infrastructure system of an area and banks and other financial institutions would most probably not function during such times.

Food and Water

Your home disaster preparedness stores must also have stocks of emergency food and water. There must be enough (minimum 1 gallon per person per day) water available for every individual, as getting access to clean running water during such disasters might be very difficult. Most disaster management experts recommend being prepared for at least two weeks. Foods that are non-perishable or the ones that do not need preparation must be kept aside for disasters. These may include jerky, granola bars, dried fruits, canned goods, and vegetables. Cereal, dried milk, crackers, cookies, etc. are some of the other items that can be stocked up as well. Vitamins must also be readily available, especially for nursing or pregnant mothers or children.

After you lose electrical power, you should consume the food stored in the fridge before checking out the items stored in the freezer. Stockpiled food should be saved for the last. And don’t forget the pets in the family when making plans for preparedness or putting in items into the disaster preparedness kits. Water, food, and other supplies should be set aside for the pets, along with any pet carriers or leashes that might be required at the time of evacuation.

In the end, disaster preparedness requires investments of time, effort and money. An easy and fairly painless way to stockpile necessities is to buy an extra item or two when grocery shopping and add it to your stores. Preparing for disasters such as earthquakes, storms, or even a government financial collapse should not be overwhelming if approached in a methodical manner. And the dividends will pay handsomely if you are armed with a disaster preparedness plan.

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