It seems like everywhere we go lately there is some sort of natural disaster. The last few months have held devastation from hurricanes in Florida, Puerto Rico and so many other places then rampant wildfires in California followed just several short weeks later by deadly mudslides. Where I live we went through 16 straight days (record) of subzero temperatures and a blizzard followed by 60 degree temps, rapid melting and widespread floods. It is very clear that everyone needs to have some sort of emergency preparedness plan.
Fortunately in my “day job” I manage the risk for our public school district – risk is always on my mind. I admit though sometimes I am so busy preparing the district that I forget to prepare my home and family.
You need to know your emergency – is it a hurricane, tornado, wildfires, flooding etc…? Many of the precautions are the same but many are different. I’d like to say in Connecticut we don’t need to worry about earthquakes but actually we have had some. We camp seasonally in Maine and we have even had them there. No one is totally immune. My Patriot Supply can help meet the needs of a multitude of emergency situations.
Depending on the possible disaster – will you be able to make plans to hunker down in place or will you need to evacuate? Make sure you know evacuation routes, shelter locations and if you have pets your research needs to include consideration for them. We have a dog and my elderly in laws with us but we also own four horses off site. All emergency plans need to give consideration to their separate location and circumstances.
If there is one thing we have learned through 9/11, hurricanes and more in our area – cell phones are not reliable necessarily in extreme situations. The towers are not invincible and when millions of people are impacted the networks cannot handle the influx of calls. I am sure my family members in Colorado will feel quite anxious if we can’t get messages to them of our safety or location. We come up with a plan to share the information.
Make sure you sign up for emergency alerts so you can be updated on your phone. For example we get emergency alerts when the local river is at risk of flooding. The alerts are loud and you can’t miss them. We also get reverse 911 calls from the major agencies in the area if there is something to be concerned about.
Always know that you may have to improvise. We can have the best laid plans but sometimes we don’t get notice, or adequate notice. It just may not be possible. Plus we spend a great deal of time on the road – we always need to be thinking on our feet. For example when in Maine one time, we were driving and were alerted to a tornado very near us. We immediately pulled into a Wendys parking lot and prepared to hunker down in Wendys – but then the tornado hit the Wendys… But our dogs were perfectly fine in the camper 5 miles away.
Have some sort of emergency preparedness kit. We always have a stash of shelf stable food and we cycle through it every now and then to keep it current. And because we spend so much time at the barn with our horses there is always food in the car. But it is more than just food – FEMA is an excellent resource to find out just what you need then you can start building your emergency “kit” with the help of My Patriot Supply.
We also need to keep family members in mind – in our house we have two elderly adults, one who is handicapped and a 17 year old who is autistic and cannot navigate through emergencies. We need to always make sure we have as much medication on hand as we can as well as just how will we keep them calm and functional during a crisis. Our goal is to make emergencies as predictable as we can for them.
Do you have pets? You need to prepare for them too. Make sure dogs are microchipped. Make sure horses or livestock are marked somehow. For example we would use grooming paint to put our phone number on our horses. We can add tags to their halters but the halters can (and do) break. We need to be as safe as we can and grooming paint is water/weather resistant and needs a special shampoo to wash it off. We can control the situation with our dog more easily than with the horses. I would go to any lengths to find them after an emergency and doing what I can to find them more quickly is critical.
Knowing where all emergency shut offs are is critical. Our house is quite funky so we definitely need to be aware of these. Not knowing how long we could be in a critical situation we have first aid and CPR knowledge.
Is there a possibility you could be struggling/recovering from a disaster for a very long period of time? You may need to plan for how to keep your family safe. Unfortunately there are people out there who prey on situations such as these. Do you have the knowledge, skills and equipment to keep your family safe? I am not even necessarily talking about a gun(s). How would you keep your family safe even if you had guns but there was no way to get ammo? For us – we have a stack of wrist rockets (sling shots). We can find rocks or ammo anywhere.
Can you think of any other emergency preparedness tasks we need to consider? Comment with your ideas – thank you!