From a 500-year flood to devastating tornadoes to a pandemic, disasters can take many forms. And in these instances, a little prep can be the difference between comfortably waiting it out or worrying about where your next meal will come from.
When it comes to prep, realize you’re not planning for the end of the world. In most disasters, having 1-2 weeks of emergency supplies is more than enough. Just make sure you have these 5 fundamentals covered.
Your home will most likely be your shelter during a disaster. It’s where you store supplies and plan to stay until it’s safe to leave.
Here, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for living without electricity or running water. You’ll want to have items like charcoal, candles, flashlights, batteries, walkies, and some kind of generator.
2. Safety & Hygiene
Safety is anything that allows you to keep your family safe. Whatever that means to you, you’ll want to take those steps.
Having good locks on your doors is a start. During a disaster, even desperate people won’t usually go into a locked home. This is for their own safety and because they don’t want to hurt anyone.
You’ll want windows you can open if it’s hot, and lots of blankets to keep people warm if it’s cold.
Safety also includes hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading disease. Here, you’ll want to have items like toilet paper, sanitizing wipes, and water-disinfecting tablets.
Experts recommend one gallon of water per person per day in your home. If that sounds like a lot, realize you may need this for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Start by stocking up for 72 hours, which will cover most disasters. Then increase to a 1- to 2-week supply if you have the space. Remember to buy any supplies such as water slowly so that you don’t strain your budget or deprive other local people of these goods.
If you have pets, make sure you have food and water for them too!
At the very least, you’ll want to have 3 days of non-perishable food in your home. Canned and dried foods work best here. Sardines, crackers, canned vegetables and soups, nuts, and dried fruit are great for this.
But only buy food you’ll actually eat. You’re going to eat this food eventually, either because it’s about to go bad or you have a disaster.
If it’s part of your emergency stores, make sure you have a way to cook it. Eating uncooked, dried beans will make you sick. Anything canned should be okay cold since the canning process cooks it.
Cycle through your stores periodically to reduce spoilage. Then replenish it.
5. First Aid
During a disaster you may not be able to fill your prescription or see a doctor. So as you continue to prep for a disaster, build out your first aid kit with items to disinfect, tourniquet, bandage, and stitch up. Always try to stay at least 2 weeks ahead of running out of a life-saving prescription like insulin, inhaler, or heart medicine.
Consider taking an online first aid class and practicing these skills at home. Now, you’re ready to face most disasters comfortably, safely, and with peace of mind.
A final tip, which could be the most important, is to say hi to your neighbours and volunteer once a week at a local charity. Actually knowing, and looking out for, the people around you is the best way to have people you can count on in a tough situation. If the worst does happen, having a community of reliable people who trust you nearby will be the most important commodity of all.