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Emergency Essentials: Preparing For a Disaster

Emergency Essentials: Preparing For a Disaster

Your Guide to Keeping You and Your Family Prepared for the Worst 

Emergencies happen, and when they do, you want to be ready. One of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for crises is to have an emergency kit in your home. A good emergency kit should contain everything you and your family need to survive for 72 hours in the wake of a disaster. The resources in your emergency kit can truly be lifesavers when a natural disaster or other emergency happens. In this article, we’ll cover the essentials for your emergency kit and the knowledge you’ll need to best respond to a natural disaster.

Getting Your Evacuation Plan

In the event of an emergency, you’ll need a plan of action for what to do if you need to evacuate your home. This plan should be practiced with all members of your household so that you can exit your home and get to safety as fast as possible. In some circumstances, it’s better to stay put in your home instead of seeking shelter somewhere else. However, if there is an emergency in your home, like a house fire, gas leak, or other similar crisis, your evacuation plan can save lives. 

Run through the steps in your evacuation plan with each member of your family. You’ll want to make sure everyone knows how to exit your home as safely and effectively as possible. Make sure everyone knows how to access and use your home’s fire extinguisher as well – if you don’t have one, get one! In addition, if you have children, make sure to teach them how to dial 911 in the event of an at-home emergency. Your children should be able to execute the evacuation plan on their own in case an emergency happens, and you’re not there to help. 

For extra planning and peace of mind, you can draw up an evacuation plan that shows the quickest access points to the outside from each room in the house, whether they are doors or windows. Having a visual representation of your plan helps to ensure that everyone in your household has a point of reference if they forget part of it.

Learning First Aid 

In an emergency, first aid experience is invaluable. Knowing how to treat cuts, bruises, and burns, as well as performing CPR, stopping bleeding, and more, are essential skills that you won’t regret learning. You can get an online certification in first aid or find a local first aid training course where you live. 

In addition to learning first aid, you’ll want to make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit in your house. A good first aid kit should contain everything you need to treat minor injuries that might occur during an emergency. In some situations, someone injured needs professional medical assistance. However, even in circumstances where emergency care is needed, knowing how to temporarily address an injury can make the difference between life and death until help arrives.

Your first aid kit at home should include bandages, gauze, medical shears, antibiotic ointment, over-the-counter painkillers, gloves, and more. You can buy a pre-packaged first aid kit to save the time you’d need to spend making your own.

Non-Perishable Food and Water: Must-Haves for Disasters 

You never know when a natural disaster or another emergency might happen, and if and when one does, you need to be prepared in case you lose access to food and water. Your emergency kit should be stocked with food that has as long a shelf life as possible. This guarantees that even if you don’t need to use your emergency kit for a long time, the food inside will still be edible for years. 

One of the best options for a non-perishable source of food is high-calorie energy bars. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, you may be left without power, meaning the food in your home could go bad. You might even need to evacuate your home and have no access to food. For this reason, it’s essential to keep food in your emergency kit that you can count on to stay fresh for years. 

High-calorie, non-perishable food sources like energy bars are perfect for disaster survival because they keep you full for as long as possible. In the event of a disaster, rationing food is a must, and if you can get away with eating a small amount of food and still be full, you’ll be better off. Sometimes, there’s no telling how long it will be before you can stock up on more food in the aftermath of a disaster. 

In addition to high-calorie foods that won’t go bad, you also need a source of water that is non-perishable. Water bottles can actually expire – as the plastic deteriorates, it can seep harmful chemicals into the water. Instead of water bottles, opt for non-perishable water pouches, which are more compact and last much longer. Make sure you have enough water in your emergency kit for everyone in your family to survive for up to 72 hours.

If The Power Goes Out 

Natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes can easily knock out your power and leave you stuck in the dark. A power outage means you won’t be able to charge your phone, so you don’t want to rely on it as a source of light – if the power goes out, it’s best to conserve your phone’s battery life as much as possible.

Instead of using the flashlight utility on your smartphone, put several alternative sources of light in your emergency kit. These could be matches, a flashlight, glow sticks, or all of the above. Glow sticks and matches are helpful since they don’t require batteries to work, but they can only provide light for short periods of time. A battery-powered flashlight is a great option, more dependable than your phone, and often able to give you a more powerful beam. Make sure you pack extra batteries in your emergency kit, though!

To keep your phone from dying in a power outage, you can stock your emergency kit with a portable battery pack. A battery pack can give your phone the extra boost you’d need to perform emergency tasks. It’s best not to rely on your phone during a natural disaster, though – use it only when it’s absolutely necessary to prevent losing battery.

More Steps to Take 

Since natural disasters and other emergencies can leave you and your family exposed to the elements, make sure your emergency kit contains easy-to-carry means of staying warm. Foil emergency blankets, also known as space blankets, are a perfect option – they’re the sheets of foil you might have seen wrapped around marathon runners at the end of a race. Foil blankets help insulate your body and aid its heat-retaining abilities, keeping you warmer longer. You can also equip your emergency kit with hand warmers, gloves, and ponchos to keep you warm and dry.

Every tool in your emergency kit has the potential to make a huge difference in your ability to recover from a natural disaster or other crisis. It’s well worth it to invest in a kit, keeping it easily accessible in your home to be prepared for the worst. With the knowledge and resources you need, you’ll be able to protect yourself and your family in the event that a disaster occurs. 

Sources:

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153849

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/non-perishable-food

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