Emergency preparedness is essential if you want to have a fighting chance for you and your family when things get hard in the world. You never know when an emergency situation can strike. Floods, earthquakes, pandemics, economic crisis, and more can happen without warning, leaving store shelves empty either through panic buying or cut off supply lines. What can you do to be prepared for an emergency when it comes your way? Are you prepared enough already? You may think you are, but to be safe, here’s a list of the 7 best ways to ensure you are really prepared for an emergency when it comes along.
Keep in mind that an emergency isn’t just when something happens on a community or global scale. An emergency can affect just you, or your family, and those sort of emergencies are some of the most important to be prepared for.
ONE: HAVE A PEACE OF MIND FUND
A peace of mind fund is a savings of money that you can access quickly and easily when you have the need. Times of emergency are times when you need access to your savings without the hoops associated with some types of savings accounts, like IRA’s. Locking your money away can seem good for your future. But if you don’t have access to some of your saved money for when you need it, you could be shooting yourself in the foot.
A time when you could need access to your savings would be if you are injured and unable to work until the injury has healed. This happens more often than you’d expect in America, with a worker being injured in the workplace as often as once every second of the day. It is likely that sooner or later, you could also face one of those injuries. Having a peace of mind fund does exactly what it sounds like: it gives you peace of mind, knowing that if you got hurt, or if something unexpected happened like a natural disaster, you’d have the money set aside you’d need to handle those situations. Being ready for anything means having money ready, too. So set up your own peace of mind fund and start building your reserves of money!
TWO: MAKE DIFFERENT PLANS
Having a plan for an emergency is great. But there isn’t only one type of emergency. There are hundreds. If you’ve prepared your family for one emergency, that is a great place to start. But don’t stop there. Making a plan for all the kinds of emergency situations you can face in your geographical area is the next step. Are earthquakes common in your area, or floods, wildfires, or hurricanes? If you don’t know what kinds of emergency disasters can affect your area, go and find out! Being prepared means having a plan for the different kinds of emergencies that can affect you and your family when you least expect it.
There are four main questions to answer for any emergency preparedness plan. 1. How will I keep aware of emergency alerts in my area? 2. What is my plan for shelter? 3. What is my evacuation route? 4. What is my family communication plan? These questions will keep you and your family prepared for the myriad dangers that could face you in the future should an emergency situation arise. You also should determine your own household needs for emergency situations, like having extra medication on hand if you or someone in your family has a condition that requires a certain kind of medicine to treat. Once you’ve made your plans, you should practice them every once in a while to prepare your children and yourself for handling the stressful situations of an emergency. That way, when one comes up, you’ve already been through what to do and where to go, saving you and your loved ones the panic of not knowing how to handle those scary situations.
THREE: SET ASIDE FOOD STORAGE
Food storage is one of the most important things to have for an emergency. Having at least 3 months worth of food on hand is a good way to lessen your worry about an emergency situation. A 3 month supply ensures that you have enough for yourself and your family should roads and other public services become unavailable. Finding the right fit for your family’s needs when it comes to food is simple as well. Have a variety of options ready for different challenges, ranging from 72 hour kits for 2 people to 12 months worth of supplies for a whole family.
Having the right amount of food supplies for before the emergencies happen is a key to being prepared. If you wait until an emergency arrives, you’ll have to fight against crowds of other people who also waited too long, often finding the stores already stripped clean of the items you were hoping to get. This can also be true of online orders. Get your food storage before the disasters strike!
FOUR: LEARN ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY RESPONSE
In an emergency, it’s important to have a safety net of other people who can look out for you and your family. That’s why most communities have already developed a plan to aid their fellow community members should an emergency arrive. If you don’t know what your community emergency plans are, you can find them by reaching out to your community leaders. If your community hasn’t made preparations yet, you can lead the charge. Ready.gov provides a helpful checklist for getting started here. By organizing with your community or neighborhood, you can help create a plan, or become aware of already existing plans, to handle an emergency together. Many places with HOA’s or community centers may already have such plans in place. If so, reach out to those organizations, and ask what you can do to help. Being involved in your community builds confidence in your surroundings, as well as a sense of safety.
FIVE: FIRST AID
Having your own first aid kit could mean all the difference in an emergency. Being able to take care of yourself and your family means having the supplies on hand when things get difficult, and medical supplies are extremely important for being fully prepared for any natural disaster. You may not be able to quickly get to a hospital when an emergency hits your area. Be sure to educate yourself on the use of the items in your first aid kit. If you want to know more about what should be in your emergency first aid kit, The American Red Cross has a helpful list you can review.
SIX: HAVE ENOUGH WATER
Most people know that if you go without water for over 3 days, you’re in for a world of hurt. But worse than going without water is going with water that you can’t be sure is clean. Drinking water that isn’t clean can lead to a number of different illnesses, leaving you weakened or in serious danger during an already difficult time of an emergency. Having access to clean water supplies makes rehydrating food storage items safer and easier, too. But storing water is difficult. It’s heavy, takes up a lot of space, and can also go bad if stored too long in tough conditions. You’ll need to have at least 1 gallon per day per person in your water storage. Also, check it frequently, and ensure the water is sealed, fresh, and ready. Replace it as necessary.
SEVEN: HAVE ENOUGH HYGIENE ITEMS
Personal hygiene is important whether you’re in an emergency or not, but it becomes more so when emergencies strike. Keeping clean will stave off illness. Have enough personal hygiene items in your family’s preparedness kits to handle their needs should an emergency arise. Things like toothpaste, shaving cream, razors, feminine products, and soap. These items will ensure that when an emergency hits your area, you and your family are ready to survive it.
Being prepared means being ready for whatever could happen. Make a plan, practice it, and have the supplies you need to keep your family safe!