By D. Lanier Shook September 24, 2013
Eventually you and I will face a disaster. Western North Carolina is a pretty safe place, but we’ve seen gasoline shortages, water shortages, and severe weather because of things that happened thousands of miles away. September is National Preparedness Month and its time for you to consider how prepared you and your family are.
Whatever “preparedness” makes you think of, its really a very easy thing to do. For most of us it just takes a little bit of time. That’s because you already know what you need to do to be prepared and probably already have everything you need.
You need to prepare for personal emergencies as well as natural disasters. This list should help you be ready if your car breaks down, if your power goes out, if a hurricane hits, or if zombies show up early for the Zombiewalk. Here are
five things you need to consider when preparing for trouble.
1. Decide what your “normal” looks like.
If you don’t have a pet you won’t need pet food and if you don’t have small children you probably won’t need diapers. You know what you’ll need and that’s what you’ll need to have on hand. While some things — water, food, clothing —
are essential, other things are a matter of personal preference or need.
The best way to Prepare can be a closet, a Rubbermaid container, or even just a cardboard box. Just take what you use every day and put a few extras to the side — just in case. Its a good idea if you can grab what you need and carry
it with you, but even just having it there puts you ahead of the pack.
2. Not all disasters are big.
One thing you need to realize is that Preparedness is just as important in your car. When you’re at home you know where everything is. But on the road you’re always in a strange place.
While no one wants to be stranded by the road it can happen to anyone very quickly and you need to be prepared if it happens. A little bit of preparation can literally be the difference in life and death. Click here to check out our article about Twenty Things You Must Have In Your Car.
3. Some disasters are big.
Obviously natural disasters happen and we need to be ready. Here’s a few links you need to check out about being prepared.
- This poster has a concise list of what to have in your emergency kit.
- Free preparedness ebooks with Ready Wrigley the dog showing kids how to be prepared.
- True stories of people coping with disasters.
- A brochure from FEMA about emergency supplies to have on hand.
- The CDC’s Main Page on September National Preparedness Month.
4. Make sure you have what you need when you need it.
There are a few basics you’re going to need if trouble hits and here’s a few suggestions to get you started.
- LIGHT The power grid if frighteningly fragile and you need to be ready. Fortunately there are a host of low cost ways to be ready if the lights go out. LED booklights are one of my favorites. Glowsticks are another great way. I’ve seen some nifty solar powered booklights. Traditional flashlights aren’t bad. WARNING: Candles are not rarely a good idea. Many, many homes burned down before the advent of electricity because candles can tip over and spread fires.
- WATER Water is essential for drinking and hygiene. Water lines can go out due to maintenance, weather, or unplanned events. While the CDC recommends one gallon per person per day you should evaluate your own needs. You probably want to have enough on hand to manage a sponge bath every few days.
- TOILET FACILITIES There are some things in life you don’t want to run out of and toilet paper is at the top of the list. Have a plan in case water isn’t available for flushing.
- FOOD Even if food is available, cooking facilities might not be. If you or a member of your family has allergies you may not be able to get what you need. Plan for this.
- GASOLINE Keep your vehicles at a quarter of a tank at all times.
- MONEY If the power goes down the ATM may not be working. The stores may not take debit or credit cards. Keep this in mind before you’re stuck without any way to get what you need.
- LAUNDRY If the water is out then your washer will be too. You need a contingency plan that probably doesn’t include the laundromat. It may or may not be available.
5. Being Prepared begins between your ears.
Being prepared is a mindset. Whatever the trouble, if you believe you can survive you probably will. The level of Preparedness you choose is only one part of the picture. Just by thinking about it you’re getting ready. Obviously, there are things you need to do but it all starts between your ears.