Be Ready, Not Scared: A Guide to Natural Disaster Planning

Mother Nature throws punches, and sometimes they come in the form of floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, or wildfires. While we can’t control these events, we can control how prepared we are for them. Having a comprehensive plan and a well-stocked disaster kit, also known as a “go bag,” can make a world of difference when disaster strikes.

Building Your Go Bag:

  • Start with the Essentials: Pack non-perishable food (3-day supply), water (one gallon per person per day), a first-aid kit, medications, flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener, and a multi-tool.
  • Don’t Forget Comfort: Include hygiene items, a change of clothes, blankets, and sleeping bags for warmth and comfort.
  • Power Up: Pack a portable phone charger, radio, and extra batteries to stay informed and connected.
  • Important Documents: Secure copies of your ID, insurance papers, birth certificates, passports, and medical records in a waterproof container.
  • Cash is King: Pack some cash and coins, as ATMs might not be accessible during or after a disaster.
  • Personal Needs: Tailor your kit to your specific needs. Include items for pets, elderly family members, or anyone with special requirements.

Beyond the Go Bag:

  • Create a Checklist: Make a comprehensive list of things to do before, during, and after a disaster. Include evacuation routes, communication plans, and meeting points for family members.
  • Identify Safe Places: Know where to go in your home or neighborhood during different types of disasters. Basements offer shelter during tornadoes, while higher floors are safer during floods.
  • Prepare Your Home: Secure outdoor furniture, trim trees, and check for potential hazards like loose roofing or gas leaks.
  • Stay Informed: Sign up for local emergency alerts and download disaster preparedness apps for real-time updates and instructions.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Conduct regular drills with your family, simulating different disaster scenarios and practicing your evacuation plan.

Remember: Every disaster is different, so tailor your plan to your specific location and potential threats. Regularly review and update your plan, ensuring your go bag is stocked and your family is prepared.

Additional Tips:

  • Consider investing in a generator and fuel supply for extended power outages.
  • Learn basic first-aid and CPR skills.
  • Discuss disaster preparedness with neighbors and community members.
  • Include pets in your planning, with food, water, and leashes readily available.

By taking these steps, you can transform fear into preparedness, empowering yourself and your loved ones to face any natural disaster with confidence and resilience. Remember, a little planning goes a long way in ensuring everyone’s safety when nature unleashes its fury.