September is National Preparedness Month and for the first week we wanted to focus on your emergency plan. Sometimes, the weather forecast on the news warns you of an impending emergency. However, you can't always depend on advance notice. An emergency preparedness checklist will help you prepare for an emergency— no matter when it occurs— and can help you sleep more soundly at night. It will organize your efforts and provide you with everything you need in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.
Food and Water
Any emergency preparedness plan should include the basic essentials: food and water. An emergency food storage kit offers the most convenient and space-saving option. Store it in an accessible place in your home or car so you can reach it at a moment's notice.
Since natural disasters often eliminate electric and natural gas power, you don't want to rely on foods and beverages that require heating. Additionally, you want to choose supplies that have a long shelf life so you don't have to replenish them every couple of years.
Consider stocking your emergency kit with a water filter. Access to clean drinking water is essential for staying safe and healthy, especially if the emergency lasts for several days.
You might not have cell phone service in an emergency or access to television reports. An old-fashioned radio comes in handy. Keep it with your other supplies so you can reach it in a hurry. That way, you'll know what's going on outside your home and you'll hear any warnings from the authorities.
It's also smart to keep a spare battery for your cell phone charged. If you have cell service, you'll want to contact family and friends to check on their welfare.
Create a plan that your family members can follow in an emergency. The Red Cross recommends assigning each family member a series of tasks to perform so that you accomplish them quickly. Older children and teenagers can help the adults.
Consider meeting with your family at least once a year to review the plan and make changes as necessary. For instance, as your kids grow up, you can involve them in your preparations.
Normal household objects and systems can become dangerous in an emergency. Figure out how to shut off your utilities, such as natural gas and water, to prevent fires and flooding. If you have a natural gas line, you should know where the shutoff valve is. Its location may vary a bit, but it's often outside or in a basement. Make sure everyone know where to find the breaker box in the house, and consider designating a room in your home for shelter. It shouldn't have large objects that could fall on your family members or injure them in any other way.
You'll want access to essential papers during an emergency, such as medical records and insurance paperwork. Store these items in a waterproof and fire-proof safe, and make sure you can access them quickly. The Department of Homeland Security recommends using phone apps in addition to the hard copies to store financial documents so you have multiple ways to access them.
Nobody wants to imagine an emergency striking his or her home, but disasters happen. Following this emergency preparedness checklist can keep you safe and allow you to react quickly and prudently should something go wrong. If you don't have an emergency food kit, stock up now by calling My Food Storage at (888) 407-0833.