Group of people standing in a flood with rainbow boot covers to prepare for natural disaster

Let me ask you something? Does your family have a disaster kit?
If not, it’s something you should work on right away. You never know when you’ll find yourself in a situation where you have to manage without power, phone signal, or the ability to head out to the store to buy what you need.

Know What Disasters to Prep For

This will be unique to where you live, if you live close to the ocean it could be Hurricanes, Typhoons, Cyclones, or Tsunamis as an example. The first step to preparing for a disaster is knowing what disasters might affect you.

Educate yourself on you geography and what disasters have occurred in the past and could be a concern to be ready for. Questions to ask yourself can include:

  • Do I live near a fault line where earthquakes could occur?
  • Are droughts or floods common in my area?
  • Do I live in an area that is at risk for wildfires/bushfires?
  • Are you living in “Tornado Alley”?

Next, it can also be wise to take into consideration possible man-made disasters. If you live near a dam, you may need a plan of action for flooding. Power-grid going out due to a wildfire somewhere else. You get the idea.

What disasters we prepare for will be different for a lot of us and what sort of emergency plan you have will depend on those variables.

Once you have your list of disasters that you need to prepare for, it may be a good idea to consider if and when you would try to prepare to stay at your home and ride it out, and when it may be time to evacuate. Obviously those decisions may be outside of your control, such as in the event of a mandatory evacuation, but there will also be plenty of times when the decision is up to you.

Natural disaster preparedness with house on top of overturned blue pick-up from tornado.

Think about what will suit your family and their abilities. If staying in your home is the option for some of your disasters, you can take plan for issues as they come up and prevent further damage.

If a storm blows out a window, you can board it up and prevent debris from coming in for example. If water levels rise from rainfall, having sandbags in storage for surrounding your home could be useful.

At other times, it may be safer and more convenient to get out of a disaster’s way. For those cases as well as mandatory evacuation, think about where you would go. Do you have family or friends you can stay with? If that’s not an option, look into an area you may want to travel to and get the numbers of a few hotels.

Things move fast when a storm/fire hits and evacuations are ordered. You don’t want to waste time on trying to make those decisions then and lose out on a hotel room for yourself and your loved ones. Shelters should always be a last resort. Trust me, it’s not the most comfortable place to make it through a disaster.

How to Make a Family Emergency Plan

The hard truth is that sooner or later your family will likely encounter a natural disaster or similar emergency event that requires you to jump into action to stay safe and sound at some point.

Doing so will go much smoother and speed up your reaction time if your family is prepared with a plan. These are the three basic questions that your family should ask yourselves to create an emergency preparedness plan.

Where Will You Go?

The first question you need to ask is where you will go when an emergency arises. Will you stay and shelter in place? Will you need to leave and evacuate?

If you need to evacuate, where will you go and where will you stay? These are important questions and you don’t want to make those decisions when you are in the middle of a disaster. Those are stressful times and it can be hard to make smart decisions quickly in those situations.

A big part of your emergency preparedness plan should be to think through possible scenarios and look into information that is useful for the options of reacting to those disasters.

For example, if you need to evacuate figure out what routes you can take to get out of the area, determine where you can possibly go, and then get the contact information for a hotel or the people you’ll be staying with.

How Will You Keep Contact?

There is nothing scarier than not being able to get in touch with loved ones during a disaster or emergency event. Just as important is being able to get news and emergency alerts or announcements. Think about how you will accomplish these both whether you’re staying in your home or on the road while evacuating.

Making sure everyone has a mobile phone is a simple start. Don’t forget to bring/have chargers, including car chargers. A power bank storage device is a great backup power supply will come in very handy as well.

Be conservative with your device usage during a disaster to help that battery charge last as long as possible. It’s important to talk to your kids about this ahead of a disaster and remind them regularly

Don’t rely on just your smart phone for news and communication. A backup plan will come in handy if you lose signal or run out of battery charge. Emergency radios are still a very valuable asset to have during an emergency, they can be taken with you wherever you go and if you invest in a hand crank option you won’t need to worry about battery charge.

Designate a meeting point or a person that everyone contacts when you can’t get a hold of each other. Disasters do not always occur when everyone is at home and in one place, so be prepared for a situation where mom and the kids might be at the store or someone is at work.

What Supplies Do You Need?

The more prepared you are, the safer and more self-sustaining you’ll beif something does occur. Depending on what natural disaster you might face, where you live, who is part of your family, and simple things like weather will determine the supplies you need.

Start with the basics you need for survival including food, water, shelter, and medication. From there, start thinking about comforts like light, entertainment, and such. Having a headlamp and a good book or deck of cards can make waiting out a power outage a bit more tolerable.

Don’t forget about your pets. They need food and water too.

Be prepared and you’ll greatly increase your chances of making it through the emergency or disaster just fine.

What Food You Need Stored for A Natural Disaster

When you are sheltering in place or even dealing with the possibility of being stuck out on the road, having food and water is your top priority in any disaster situation. Making it portable can really help if the plan changes from stay to evacuate, taking your supplies with you can be extremely helpful. Keep this in mind with with where you store this items.

Emergency food storage doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, it can be mainly comprised of items your family is already eating. Before you go out and start buying all the water, bread, and milk you can get your hands on, figure out how long you want to prepare for.

Having at least a week’s worth of food and water stored up can be a great idea during a natural disaster. Keep in mind that you not only have to ride out the storm itself, but that it may also take extra time before help and supplies can make it to your area.

Water supply is your top priority. Hopefully you will continue to have running water, but don’t depend on it as your only source of drinking water. Buy water jugs and the likes to ensure you have enough clean water to safely drink for a few days. You can make it much longer without food than without water. Store at least a gallon of drinking water per person per day. This should be your number 1 priority.

Next, you need to prep non-perishable food that your family will eat. Choose food that you can eat as is. Crackers and peanut butter are an easy choice, as are canned spaghetti, soups, and such. Canned tuna or chicken makes for a great protein source. Don’t forget about utensils including a manual can opener for your kit.

Foods where you just add water are another easy source of food such as your ramen noodles and dried food packets. Don’t forget about things like granola bars, protein bars, nuts or beef jerky that you can eat right from the package.

Last but not least, stock up on some favorite treats like chocolate, hot cocoa, coffee, cookies and the likes. It will make getting through those tough disaster days a little more bearable.

Disaster Supply Storage Ideas

As mentioned before, keeping your supplies portable can help in the even you might need to move to another area, possibly a emergency shelter. If you can take these items with you, then you know you are taken of for a certain period of time.

Storage tubs are a great way to pack these items so that they are easy to store and easy to grab and chuck into the car if you need to go quick. This will also keep your food items safe from any pests that might try to munch on them before you need them. They also provide your food protection from water damage.

Big five gallon buckets are also popular for storing disaster supplies. They have an easy handle to grab and go, and store easily in garage, basement, or closet.

Labeling your buckets on the outside with what’s inside (food, water, medical supplies) will help you easily grab what is most needed in a time crunch. You won’t want to be digging through protein bars if you need a bandage.

Other Emergency Supplies to Pack in Your Disaster Kit

Medical Supplies And First Aid

The size of your kit will depend on the size of your family. Start with a standard kit available at your local store and then add to it.

Include some basic medicine cabinet items such as headache/fever relievers, feminine products and such. Often these are not in the store bought kits. While you’re at it, throw a few wet wipes and some mouth wash in there. Being able to clean up will make you feel much better.

If you require prescription medication, stock up in times of annual natural disaster seasons such as hurricane season. You don’t want to risk running out.

Clothing And Bedding

Since many natural disasters can pop up quite quickly, it’s a smart idea to make a small pack of clothing and bedding part of you emergency kit.

Throw a couple of pieces of underwear, a pair of pants, a couple of shirts, and you’re good to go. Remember, this isn’t your travel wardrobe. This is the dire emergency stuff you have in your kit “just in case”.

Adding a few sheets and blankets is also a good idea. If you need to stick it out a few days having some comfort will help you get some rest.

Miscellaneous Supplies

Last but not least let’s talk about some miscellaneous stuff that will come in handy. If you have a baby or pet, make sure you have plenty of supplies to keep them happy and healthy.

Stock up on diapers, make sure you have a pet leash, and don’t forget about food for pets. If you’re traveling or evacuating with a pet, check on places that will allow you to bring your fur-friends.

A small kit with some plastic bags, tarps, duct tape and a few basic tools will also come in handy if you need to fix a leak or broken window. In short, be prepared and ready for anything.

Review: Top 5 Supplies You Need for Your Disaster Kit

Water

The most important and most urgent item on the list. You can make it a surprisingly long time without food, power, and all sorts of other stuff. You can’t make it very long without a reliable source of drinking water.

Non-Perishable Food

While human beings can go a surprisingly long period of time without food, being stressed and hungry isn’t particularly pleasant. It helps to stick with items that you eat on a regular basis and add a few treats to help boost moral after it’s been a few hours or days.

First Aid Kit

The size of your kit will depend on the size of your family. Make sure any important medications are included or made a big red note to grab them before leaving, example being insulin for diabetics or inhalers for asthmatics.

Check this kit and the rest of your disaster supplies regularly to make sure you’re prepared when you need to grab your supplies and leave quickly.

Emergency Radio

Don’t rely on your phone and the internet as your only source for information. The network could go down or overload. A small battery or hand crank operated emergency radio is a important backup to keep your family safe and updated with information.

Flash Light And Batteries

Things always seem worse in the dark, don’t they? And not just that, it can be downright dangerous to move around without a reliable source of light. Headlamps are particularly helpful when you’re trying to move around get stuff done.

Save it for Later!

How to create an Emergency Disaster Kit and Emergency Plan for your family. Free Checklist included to help you get started this weekend! Life happens, be prepared.

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