Do you and your loved ones know how to react to an emergency? What’s the rule of thumb if the house floods or another natural disaster strikes? What if there’s a house fire, a power outage, or a gas leak? These are a few scenarios where you’d need to quickly prepare for an emergency. If you can’t or don’t know where to start, you could be putting yourself and the lives of your family members in danger.
This article walks you through the ways you can quickly prepare for an emergency – because emergencies happen fast, which means your reaction time should be nothing more than a few minutes.
1. Get familiar with nearby evacuation routes
Evacuations are actually quite common, so it’s a good idea to learn about them ahead of time. Start by exploring the escape routes from and around your residence, including the one from the ground-level window in your basement. For the youngsters in your family, make a map and post it on their door. For planning where everyone should regroup after an evacuation, choose a location right outside your neighborhood. Decide all of this now.
2. Create Your Emergency Supply Kit
What are your plans for the upcoming weekend? If you don’t have anything important to do, take the upcoming Saturday as an opportunity to shop for your emergency supply kit. Make sure to get the following items.
Try to buy a few gallons, because water is hard to come by in case of an emergency. When outside, any water with bad taste or odor should be avoided. Because you won’t be able to carry 100s of gallons in your emergency backpack, we also suggest buying a water filtration kit. You can use it to filter water from a lake, pond, etc.
Get more than just creams and bandages for your first-aid kit. Buy a suture kit, syringes, and some strings to ensure you’re ready no matter what the situation. Who knows, you may need to apply first aid to not only close relatives, but also neighbors or even strangers who cross the same emergency paths as you. We also suggest getting 10 days’ worth of all the prescription medications you take, as well as antibacterial and antihistamine tablets.
- Other supplies
Your emergency preparedness list doesn’t end there. Below are other items that should be present in your list to ensure you can survive during a disaster or emergency.
- Non-perishable food like powdered milk, vegetables, and soups
- Extra batteries
- Personal care products such as shampoo and toothpaste
- Emergency addresses and phone numbers
3. Create an Emergency Fund
In the next few days, work on creating an emergency fund. When disasters happen, ATMs may fail to function, internet may be cut off, financial institutions could be closed, and debit/card cards may become useless. We recommend having cash bills that’ll help you get through for at least a couple of months. Expenses would include things like shelter, clothing, and food.
4. Take an Emergency Skills Course
Learning the basics now will help you down the road. Sign up for an emergency skills course to learn how to deliver basic first aid or maneuver a fire extinguisher. Learning CPR (even the simple hands-on one) will help you act appropriately and fast in case of a dire event. You should also get familiar with the electrical setup of your household. Learn how to switch off the utilities in case of an event that may damage electrical, gas, or water lines.
5. Secure the Property
Practice how to secure the house in order to retain some of its value. Bring valuable outdoor items inside and strap down picnic chairs and patio furniture that’s extra spacious. Lawn chairs and umbrellas should also be securely packed away. Inside the hour, unplug your appliances and electronic machines, including microwaves, computers, and televisions. Lastly, create a note to leave on the kitchen table in case you have to leave the house during an emergency. Write the date and time, your plans to evacuate, and a way to reach you. In case someone comes looking for you, at least they’ll know where you are.
6. Download Apps and Backup Important Files to The Cloud
Emergency apps for tablets and smartphones include The American Red Cross, Disaster Alert, FEMA, and Life360. To download and install other similar apps, go to the iTunes or Google Play Store on your device and enter keywords like First Aid or Disaster App or Emergency app in the search bar, and you’d get a lot of options.
Another thing you should do is backup your documents (soft copies of them) in the cloud. This may include passports, driver’s licenses, certificates, and memorabilia like loved ones’ photographs. You can use Dropbox, Microsoft’s OneDrive, or Google’s Google Drive for the purpose.
7. Create a Custom Emergency Outfit
Know that emergencies can occur without notice, including when you’re at home or sleeping. A smart thing to do is get a few accessories and clothes that you can keep in your survival bag, or inside one of its pockets if there’s space left. Make sure to take action now for quick and advance preparation.
As for the supplies, make sure to fit a pair of boots or shows that offer protection in all sorts of weathers, a jacket, pants, a pair of gloves, and a full-sleeves shirt. Try to buy items featuring wool or cotton, as they make it easy to breathe and should burn off without any melts in case of nearby fire. You can also get a bandana to protect your face, and glasses to keep dust or smoke away from your eyes.
That’s it. You now know what’s needed to quickly prepare for an emergency. Now you can hop out of bed with a peace of mind every morning. It feels good to know that you’d be able to shift into survival mode almost instantly should an emergency comes up.