With Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunamis around the world, I have been thinking a lot about my family’s emergency preparedness. What do you need to be prepared for an emergency? A few different websites have different ideas. Here are the top ideas to be prepared for an emergency:
1. Have enough food and water for your family for at least 3 days. Commonly called 72 hour kits, these are handy when you need to dash out of your house. Have them stocked, and easily accessible. Include any special needs your family might have, and your pets! Take extra water and food for them. (And know that a lot of evacuation shelters will not accept pets.)
2. Have a plan. Live far from work? Where will you go if the city is evacuated? Where will you meet your family? What if the area is completely evacuated? Where will you go? Have clear and specific routes that you and your family will take. Have a final destination, one preferably out of your area.
3. Know what your work and school evacuation policy is. Does your work want you to check out with a supervisor before you leave and tell them where you are going? Will they hold the kids at school until you get to them? What if you can’t reach them? Decide who will be able to pick up your kids if you can’t make it. I listed a few neighbors to pick up Butterfly at her school, and then my parents who live in Utah.
4. Plan for small home emergencies as well. Have a fire route and practice it with your kids. Discuss who will go where and where the family would meet. My in-laws gave us a fire ladder to use on our two story house. I keep it under Butterfly’s bed in the kids’ room. You have no idea how reasuring it is to see that yellow bundle every time I go looking for toys lost under the bed. I know that if I can make it to the kids’ room, I can make it safely out of the house. When we move the boys to their own room, I intend to purchace a second one to put in there.
5. Have out of town contacts. Sometimes, when phones are down in your area, it would be easier to contact someone out of town. Memorize numbers, and make sure you can reach them. In your 72 hour kits, include these numbers and a prepaid phone card or change to make the call. Check with your out of town contact to see if they would be willing to accept a collect call.
In the end, you just need to prepare for the worst, and everything else will be easy. My worst? In my head it involves us throwing the kids, the dog, and as many supplies as we could get (including the stroller and the wagon) into our van (ditching the two captian chairs that we don’t use) and driving as far west as our gas will take us. Then, we will run out of gas, load up the stroller with the kids, the wagon with our supplies, and walk to Utah. Like pioneer refugees.
In all honesty, the worst we will see here (hopefully) is an extended power outage or perhaps an evacuation for a hurricane. We have been preparing for a power outage here. I can boil water over fire, and cook in my dutch ovens. I can also start a fire, and have a safe place to have said fire. We have water. We have some food. We’ve been discussing where to go if we are evacuated and trying to find someplace a little closer than Utah to head.
My next goal? Those 72 hour kits!
What are your preparedness goals? Anything I forgot on my list?