So are you feeling overwhelmed? I hope not. I know there are a ton of things to think about… but all you really need to do is start. Start out small. Think of small situations you would like to be prepared for.
If the power went out for 24-48 hours…what would you need?
Do You Have a 72 Hour Emergency Kit? Do you have enough food to make good meals for everyone? Do you have enough water to drink and flush the toilet a couple of times? Do you have a way to heat the house, cook the food and have some light to see? Do you have something for people to do, if there is no power? Do you have enough stuff to for older people, kids and those with special needs? Do you have a way to care for pets? Some pets are easy..cats and dogs for example. Other things like saltwater fish tanks take some planning. When you think you’re prepared, take a dry run. Turn off your house’s power at the breaker. I promise you will find things you will want to do different. Keep a notebook and write down things you want to do different for next time.
Another good thing to test is your car. If you were stuck in a blizzard…would you and your kids be OK for 12 hours in it?
Do you have blankets, gloves and hats for everyone? Do you have a shovel to keep the snow away from the tail pipe? Do you have some food? Do you have some water? Do you have a red rag to tie on your car to indicate distress? Do you have a full tank of gas so you can run the car to keep warm? Has your car been serviced so it would be reliable in extreme weather conditions? Do you have some books, color books and crayons to keep people busy? Even grown ups will play with them if they are bored. Do you have a daily dose of everyones meds in you purse or glove box? Do you have a potty can and TP? Can your kids use it? Can you? Peeing in a coffee can is an acquired skill. You can give this one a dry run too. Park in the driveway or in some abandoned parking lot for even 4 hours. You will find some things to write in your notebook. If you make it a game they will go along. Just remember that your attitude will determine their attitude. Even if they get grumpy, do it. You need to know what changes your plans need.
The next one is more of a disaster scenario.
If there was a forest fire (or something) and you were given 2 hours to evacuate, what would you do? Could you pack for you and your family and be OK? Could you get enough stuff to camp out for a week, get all your important papers and some keepsakes in 2 hours? The thought may give you a little panic attack. That doesn’t mean you should avoid the thought. It means you should give it serious thought.
- Make sure your papers are organized and in one place, so you could grab and go, without thinking about what you need. Do that now.
- Back up your computer now.
- Can your kids pack their own bags? My kids pack all their own things for trips, and have since they could read. I make a list, give it to them and let them check things off as they go in the bag. They have forgotten things, and had to do without. They didn’t forget the next time. That way, I can do other things. It’s important that your kids can help, no matter what age they are.
- Do you have accommodations for your pets? Do you have a way to move the gerbil and three cats?
- Do it. Pack everything up and see how it fits. Should you pack in suitcases, totes or garbage bags? You need to make a dry run so you know how you will fit all that you want to take. Do you need to invest in a small trailer or hitch rack? Do you have bedding, a tent and a way to cook and eat? It may be several days before emergency services are rallied. Would you be OK?
If you prepare for these three common situations you will be prepared for the most common crisis situations. If you prepare a 72 hour emergency kit , you will have a measure of confidence to take on some of the other situations that could occur. Go forth and prepare!