Emergency preparedness (or just preparedness!) doesn't need to be scary.
It’s National Preparedness month and we’re here to help you take a few steps to make sure you’re ready for anything! The Internet is full of emergency preparedness plans, kits, checklists, and a plethora of information—you don’t need ALL the of lists and plans, you really just need one good one!
First of all, this post is meant to make you feel good, not bad or overwhelmed! If you’re more of an anxious person, or tend to worry often, this post is meant to help!
No one likes to worry about what “could” happen or what “might” happen, but a little planning ahead for any situation will leave you feeling prepared, organized, and less stressed about whatever “might” be.
Build an Emergency Preparedness Kit
You don’t need to be too specific about what you’re preparing for ... just make sure you have as many of these items as you can in a safe, dry place! What should you put in your emergency preparedness kit? Here are the bare minimum basics based on the American Red Cross, ready.gov, and the New York Times:
We all know that we need water. But how much, exactly, should we have on hand? One gallon per person, per day! The rule of thumb is that it’s best to have at least three days’ worth for you and your family. Let’s do the math ... family of five? Five gallons for three days would equal 15 gallons! It might seem like a lot, but you’ll be glad you have it if you need it!
As much as we need water, a supply of food is almost as important. Ready.gov has a detailed food list. Here’s the rundown:
- Keep at least three days’ worth of nonperishable food.
- Pick foods that your family will actually eat. (You don’t want to store dry beans if half your family looks at it and won’t eat it.)
- Choose foods that won’t make you thirsty … that’s right, spicy is probably out when you’re trying to conserve your water!
Battery–operated flashlights or lanterns are great for this. Just remember to throw in a few extra batteries!
AM/FM radio with batteries.
One of the easiest ways to stay in the loop if cell service goes down is via the radio. Write down local news stations on a sticker and stick it to the back of the radio so you have an idea what stations to check if you need it!
We’re all pretty familiar with masks these days … toss in a few fresh extras to your kit.
In an emergency, you may need to make your location known. Cell phones don’t always work, but whistles do!
Remember, you don’t know where or when an emergency might happen, or when you might need your kit. It’s a good idea to keep one in your home and in your car!
Is your emergency kit ready? Take this quiz from the American Red Cross to find out!
Aside from an emergency kit, there are other ways you can be prepared. Here are a few ideas!
- Keep a map of your area (paper or downloaded version).
- Make a family plan with a meeting place, preferred communication, shelter plan, etc. Need more info on this? Click here!
- Do you take prescription meds? Have at least a month’s worth (or more if the medication expiration date allows it!).
- Have pets? Keep extra food (and water!) on hand for them, too!
We’ve given you a lot to think about here, but the resources within this post can be really helpful! Take it one step at a time.
Pick a place in your home and/or car where you’ll keep your kit. Once a week, once a day, once every couple of weeks, add something from the list to it. As time goes on, your kit will grow and take shape.
Or, if you already have a kit built, take a bit of time to evaluate whether any of your items are expired or are simply no longer relevant. The same goes for your family plan, evacuation route, maps, meds, etc.