Most of the time when we think of being prepared for an emergency, whether its living without our usual comforts or we need to evacuate our homes, we often think first of food and water. These are obviously two of the immediate needs and rightfully so since we can only survive several days without water and a few weeks without food.
What about the times when the emergency or evacuation lasts longer? In those instances, other survival items and skills come into play which are just as important.
When making your emergency preparations, here are some things to keep in mind:
Shelter is one of the basic needs and therefore should be at the top of your list for non-food items. You never know what type of disaster might happen so knowing exactly what you’ll need for shelter is difficult to say. Having the supplies to create a makeshift shelter is your best bet. You will want ropes, tarps, a hammer, nails, and a handsaw or hatchet at minimum to build a simple shelter. If your space and budget allows, you may want to purchase a couple pop-up tents. These are ideal in the case of evacuation because they are easy to put up quickly, portable and lightweight.
Everyone uses tools every day to make their lives easier. When a disaster strikes, knowing you have tools handy not only will make your life easier, but your life may depend on them. Just surviving a massive disaster will be hard enough, so make sure you have the tools you need. Here’s a basic list of items you should keep on hand at all times:
- Work gloves
- Ax or Hatchet
- Crow bar
- Sharp knives
Most of these tools can easily fit into a toolbox for storage. But, to cut down on having to worry about so many separate tools in an emergency situation you might want to invest in portable, lightweight multi-use tools, especially if you will need to evacuate and travel any distance.
Water Storage & Filtration System
You have already packed water for your family, so why bother with a filtration system? There is a chance that the water will run out. You’ll want to set up a water filtration system of some sort to be sure you have a clean water supply available. This doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, although having a water filtering system is definitely a plus.
It minimum you’ll need a something to get water with and a large pot for boiling it. If there is a shortage you can gather water from the river, stream, lake or pond or even rainwater. All water, even water that is being filtered, should be boiled first if possible. Then you will need something clean to store the filtered water in. Just this one emergency supply kit could save a great deal of trouble.
Personal Care Items
When a disaster strikes, we often long for the little comforts we didn’t realize were so important to us. Along with the necessities like shelter, food and water, there are items that help us function better because we feel better.
The following items may be overlooked when stocking up for a long term emergency but you will be glad you have them on hand:
- Toilet paper
- Hairbrushes and combs
- Hair clips and bands
- Nail clippers
- Feminine products
We sometimes forget about these ‘luxuries’ because they have become so commonplace in our ordinary life. But, an emergency situation means nothing is ordinary. Having these products on hand can make a difficult time a little bit easier, or, at the very least, more comfortable.
Keep a Seed Bank
What is a seed bank? This is a supply of good seeds to grow a garden for food. You may not think that this is necessary because you have already packed your nonperishable food supply. But, a seed bank is important in the event of a long term catastrophe. Stockpiled food will be depleted and it is important to have a seeds you can grow to supply yourself and your family with the food you’ll need to survive. You will need to know your growing climate and the types of seeds that will thrive in your area. If you’re short on garden space, use containers to plant your vegetables wherever you have room.
The better prepared you are the better the outcome will be when facing an emergency situation. Take inventory of what you have available and stock up on the rest to ensure you will be able to survive through whatever disaster may strike.
Roadside emergencies are inevitable. The question isn’t if, it’s when. Will you be prepared? If you drive at all, at some point in time you will be faced with a roadside emergency. A broken fan belt, a dead battery, a flat tire or leaking radiator are just a some of the things that can happen when you travel. No one can predict when they’ll have an emergency along the road. The best you can do is be prepared.
A minor emergency, such as a flat in the middle of the day when you can use your cell phone to call the nearest mechanic, is one thing. But, having a major emergency, such as the same flat tire in the middle of the night in a blizzard with no cell phone service, well, that’s the sort of emergency you want to be prepared for. Even if you don’t know much about how to fix your car, you can be prepared to do small things such as add water to the radiator or oil to your engine or jump your battery. But, if its more than you can handle you can be prepared to wait it out.
When planning for a roadside emergency, you want to think of two emergency kits; a personal kit and a car kit.
Your Personal Kit should include:
- Drinking water
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Walking shoes
- An extra pair of socks
- Non-perishable foods such as snack bars, granola, nuts, etc.
- Warm gloves
- Rain poncho
- First aid kit
Your Car Kit should include:
- Jumper cables
- Flash light with extra batteries
- Work gloves
- Spare tire (filled), jack and lug wrench
- Fire extinguisher
- One gallon jug of water
- Ice scraper
- Multipurpose tool, such as a Leatherman
- Small shovel
- Kitty litter or sand to use as traction if you are stuck in the snow
- 2 quarts of motor oil
- Paper towels
- 3 road flares or reflective warning cones or triangles
- Duct Tape
- Windshield washer fluid
- Tire pressure gauge
If you’re traveling for a long distance you will want to pack a personal kit for other family members, as well. Especially when you travel with children, you will want to pack the items they may need if you are stranded for a period of time. Remember items such as:
- Baby food
- Extra clothes
- Warm shoes and boots
- Stroller or other carrier
- Games (to keep your kids occupied)
The best thing to do when preparing your kits is try to imagine if you were stranded and couldn’t get home for hours. Remember, you will be without electricity, heat, or other comforts of home. What would you want in your car if that were the case? Even small roadside problems can be difficult. A short trip across town could leave you stranded if something happened to your car. You’ll want to be prepared as best you can be for these situations so you can return home safe and sound.
Having a bag packed and ready to go in case of a sudden evacuation or emergency is good advice. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ve prepared for each member of the household to ‘grab and go’ their own pack if the times comes to make a hasty departure.
Here’s a few things to think about when planning for your own family’s emergency packs:
Who Should Have a Pack?
Every person in your household should have his or her own backpack or other easy to carry bag loaded with essentials, plus any specific items they need. This includes your pets, too.
What Kind of Pack is Best to Use?
A durable backpack is your best choice. Backpacks are made to distribute the weight evenly over the back and shoulders while allowing your hands to be free, making it a good choice for all ages.
In an emergency or disaster, you often have to walk to a safer place so it’s important to plan for comfort. You’ll also find the extra pockets come in handy to separate and store specific items.
What Should You Pack?
Its so important to stay hydrated during an emergency when you will probably be exerting yourself in ways you’re not used to. Dehydration can cause confusion, low blood pressure, fatigue, delirium, unconsciousness, and even death.
FEMA advises each person to have 1 gallon of drinking water per day and to pack enough water for three days. One gallon of water is 128 ounces, which is about 6 to 8 store-bought bottles depending on the size of the bottles. Water is heavy so i f you can’t carry that much water in your pack, plan ahead how you will get enough drinking water from clean sources if you have to leave your home in an emergency.
Pack nonperishable, airtight packaged food. This can be in the form of trail mix, granola, protein or snack bars, nuts and seeds, beef jerky, peanut butter, dried fruit, or individually canned meat (such as sardines, chicken, salmon, and tuna.) Be sure to pack a manual can opener and enough food to last for several days.
One of the most important things to have in the event of an emergency or disaster is plenty of clean underwear, socks, a hat, gloves, several thin layers of t-shirts, and a waterproof jacket or windbreaker. In a disaster situation you may have to walk for long distances, so, as soon as your budget allows, pack an extra pair of good walking shoes.
This can include many things, but, at the very least, pack a tarp and rope so you can string up a makeshift shelter if needed. A small pop up tent is ideal. Include a small roll of plastic sheeting in each person’s pack to form a waterproof layer on the ground for sleeping and sitting just in case you do need to sleep outdoors.
What Else Should You Pack?
Besides water, food, and shelter, there are essentials that everyone should have access to when an emergency situation occurs.
Here’s a short list of items that should be included:
- Prescription medications and over the counter medications
- First aid kit
- Flashlight, extra batteries, or a hand crank flashlight
- Rain poncho
- Waterproof matches
- Copies of identification and other important papers you may need, in a waterproof container or plastic Ziploc bag. Also, prepare a sheet or card for each person with important information, including address, phone, school or work address, parents’ names, kids’ names, other family names and addresses, health information, etc. Have it laminated to protect against water damage and wear.
Space will be at a premium, so carefully pack all items into each backpack. Clearly mark each pack with the household member’s name and the date it was packed. As time passes, the family’s needs will change, so it’s a good idea to mark your calendar to evaluate your packs often. Some items, such as medication and food, will need to be checked and changed out periodically. Even identification information may change, such as work or schools, phone numbers, etc.
Designate a place in your home to meet in case of evacuation and if possible, store the packs in that location. That way, in the event of an emergency evacuation, your family can easily identify their own pack and will be able to grab it and go.
Remember to practice your evacuation procedures each time you update the packs. This will keep your safety procedure fresh in everyone’s minds. You may never need to put these packs to the test, but it’s better to know that everyone’s ready just in case.
In an emergency we can all become overwhelmed. Our first thoughts are to gather our family and our supplies to get to safe ground. Many times we panic and no one is functioning very well. Therefore, it’s no surprise our pets often suffer during this turmoil. That’s why it is so important to plan for your pets’ safety along with your own.
In the midst of a disaster, when our thoughts are scattered, we want a simple plan to fall back on so everyone, including our furry family members, are kept safe. Here are some basic guidelines for planning your pets’ safety during an emergency situation.
What to Pack for Your Pet
You may already have your personal emergency evacuation packs ready for each of your family members but did you think about your pets? It’s good advice to have one prepared for each member of your household, and your pet is no exception. Preparing a pack before you actually need it will take the guess work out of what to grab if you need to evacuate in a hurry.
What should you put in your pet pack? Here’s a list of recommendations. Of course, your pet may require other items as well, so use this as a guide.
Pets drink a lot of water when they’re stressed out. So, even though your pet may be smaller than you they will need lots of water.
Pack several days’ worth of dry pet food in single servings in small plastic ziploc bags.
Collapsible dishes don’t take much room so I recommend getting this Folding Collapsible Travel Food & Water Bowl for Pets Dogs Cats.
Copies of Prescriptions and Medications
If you have a pet who regularly takes medication you will want to be sure to pack it so you pet won’t have to do without.
Copies of Medical Record
Include a photo copy of your pets medical records, including immunizations and shot records.
Portable Kennel or Pet Carrier
You will do yourself and your pet a favor by having a kennel or carrier handy, to keep pet safe and secure. Guardian Gear Collapsible Dog Crate is a good option.
You want to have one in case your pet gets wet or dirty.
Harness or Leash
In emergency situations pets may panic, so keep a leash handy.
In harsh weather conditions you want to be able to keep your pet out of the elements.
Toys and Chewies
Help your pet relieve stress and anxiety while waiting out the disaster by having something to play with.
Identification for Lost Pets
During a disaster your scared pet may run away, get disoriented and not be able to find his way back home. Pets without ID tags are rarely returned to their owners in the case of evacuation. The stories of pets walking hundreds or thousands of miles to return to their home are extremely rare. They make good headlines, but they don’t tell the story of the millions who never return because they don’t have any identification. So one of the most important thing to do for your pet is to be sure he or she wears a collar with ID tags.
The best method of identification for your pets is the micro-chip. A tiny identification chip is inserted just under the skin with a hypodermic needle by your vet. It’s relatively inexpensive and you won’t have to worry about making sure your pet keeps his collar on that he loves to shed whenever he gets the chance. Many vets will do the micro-chip during another service for a discount. Then you register your pet’s micro-chip online.
If anyone finds your pet they can take him to any veterinary office where they will run a scanner over the skin, just like at the grocery store. If there’s a micro-chip, the scanner will read the number, which will be sent to the online database which has your information. Then they will then contact you with to let you know where your pet is being kept.
Keep your pets’ emergency pack right along with your family’s packs. This way you won’t have to worry about what to grab for your pet because everything is already in there.
Just remember, your pet can’t ask for what they need, so it’s your job to provide it by planning ahead.
When disaster strikes or an emergency hits, will you be prepared? Oftentimes, during and in the clean up after people have to perform manual labor to deal with the situation. Clearing branches, trees, debris, dirt, ice or snow from your home and property may be your first chore after a disaster.
Although, you can’t prepare for every emergency imaginable, you can still be as prepared as possible. Make yourself aware of the types of natural disasters that can happen in your area. Armed with this knowledge, you can prepare and plan wisely for those kind events. This preparation includes having the right tools on hand.
One thing you will want to remember is during an emergency situation you will probably have to move around to different locations to help yourself and others. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a few lightweight, multi-use tools you can easily pack or carry with you. There are many styles on the market that serve several functions in a single tool. By having a multi-use tool you will save space and be able to perform various tasks as needed with less equipment.
Some other basic tools for emergency use would include:
- Utility knife
Even though you may have many of these tools already, if you use them for everyday tasks it’s likely they wouldn’t be in your emergency stash when you need them. That poses a problem because during an emergency you wouldn’t have the time to go hunting down the tools you need.
To solve this problem you can store your everyday tools with your emergency supplies, if you have the room. Although doing this could be a bit frustrating having to constantly go to your emergency supplies to get tools you use regularly. It may lead to those tools not being returned to the emergency supplies which would cause more problems when disaster hits and you don’t have all your gear together.
A better way to deal with this is to buy and store emergency specific tools. In the short term, you may see it as waste of money but, in the long term, building up your emergency supplies will ensure your family’s safety. You don’t have to do it all at once. Set aside a certain amount of money each month to build your toolkit or buy one specific emergency survival tool each month. That’s how most people do it because buying everything all at once would be too much of a financial drain. Be frugal and fit tools into your family budget by checking out the resale and thrift shops.
Tools may not be first thing on your mind when thinking about emergency planning but in the event of a natural disaster, you may need tools to help remove debris, build flood water barricades, or even clear a path to a neighbor’s house. After the immediate needs have been met, you may need tools to gather water, build a shelter, and plant food.
As you can see, tools are very important for survival in the short term and long term. Peace of mind is another ‘tool’ you’ll be happy you have.