Disasters, natural or manmade, may strike at any time, so everyone should be prepared for them. No need to be paranoid or a survivalist, a few simple precautions will insure your survival over a short period of time. For major disasters that are widespread or prolonged, you will have to know basic survival skills, be able to improvise, and possibility know how to, and be willing to, fight or kill for you and your family’s survival.
The following are some simple precautions that will help you survive most disasters.
In the event an emergency evacuation, you will not have time to grab what you need, so an emergency backpack that is preloaded with essential items will allow you to grab it and go. In the backpack, you should have the following items:
- Important documents, such as copies of insurance policies identification, bank records, medical records, and deeds.
- Prescriptions for medications and eyeglasses.
- Mini first-aid kit, with items such as bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin.
- $300 in cash, in small denominations.
- Prepaid phone card.
- Matches in a waterproof container.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Portable NOAA weather-radio, powered by batteries or hand-cranked.
- Food, such as energy bars and bottled water.
- Extra keys for home and vehicles.
- Infant/child necessities.
Since you never know where or when a crisis will occur, you need to keep a container of supplies in your vehicle to sustain you and your family in case you are stranded on the road. In the container, you should have:
- Local maps and a road atlas.
- Writing supplies.
- Food, such as dried fruit and energy bars.
- 2 gallons of bottled water.
- Eating supplies, such as paper cups, paper, plates, and utensils.
- Manual can opener.
- Compact sleeping bag or survival blanket.
- Sanitation supplies, such as toilet paper, moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
- Hand sanitizer.
- Duct tape.
- Cell phone car charger.
- Clothes that are appropriate for your climate and the season, such as sweater, waterproof jacket, hat, and shoes.
- First-aid kit containing such items as bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic, aspirin, anti-diarrheal medicine, medical tape.
- Multi-tool, knife.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Jumper cables.
- Light sticks or roadside flares.
- Towline for hauling or towing.
The supplies in your home should keep your family safe and healthy for at least three days and be useful during the cleanup phase. Some items you should have staged in your home are:
- Window sealing materials, such as plastic sheeting, duct tape, and plywood.
- Food, plenty of canned and dry goods, and also food for your pets.
- Bottled water, at a least three-day supply at one gallon per person per day. Also, have bleach and a medicine dropper to use to sanitize water.
- Manual can opener, plastic utensils, plates, and cups.
- Lantern, batteries, candles, and matches.
- NOAA weather radio, battery powered or hand-cranked.
- Dust masks
- Fire extinguisher
- Heavy gloves for removing debris.
- First-aid kit containing such items as bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic, aspirin, anti-diarrheal medicine, medical tape, scissors, tweezers, insect repellant, iodine, etc
- First-aid manual.
- Disinfectant and sanitizer.
- Toilet paper and a bucket or portable toilet.
- Hand and power tools, such a chain saw, shovel, rake, axe, hatchet, drill, circular saw, etc.
- Generator and fuel for generator and gas-powered tools.
- Natural gas. Most gas valves are located outside and require a wrench for shutoff. Obtain shutoff instructions and keep them, a proper wrench, and a flashlight in your emergency container.
- Water. During as disaster, well water or municipal water may become contaminated. To prevent accidentally using the water, locate the main water shutoff valve, usually located in the basement, and know how to use it.
- Electricity. In a flood, electrical outlets may become a danger to both your family and rescue workers. Locate the main circuit panel and know how to shut off the main circuit breaker. If there is already water around the panel, do not touch it with your hands, trip the breaker with an insulated screwdriver.
Family Communications Plan
Insure each family member has emergency contact numbers on their cell phones, and written on cards in their wallets.
Family Evacuation Plan
Insure each family member knows a neighborhood, local, and out of town meeting place where they are to go in case of family separation. Have address and phone numbers of such places written on cards in their wallets.
Having firearms available for defense is a personal choice. However, remember that there will be bands of bad people roaming the streets and they WILL have firearms. In disasters where their survival is at risk, even normally non-aggressive people will kill for food or shelter.