Emergency Preparedness 101

Most Americans are not prepared with even the basic necessities for a emergency or disaster according to an article by ABC news. The article reports that there are more than 50 natural disasters that occur each year in the United States from floods, major snow storms, wildfires, to hurricanes. This does not include simple emergencies like power outages or family emergencies. Less than 10% of families or prepared for an emergency.

I want to cover some basic things that you can do to be prepared for an emergency or natural disaster. I am putting together some simple ideas for getting prepared. FEMA’s website is a great place to get information and ideas for emergency preparedness, as well as the Red Cross.


A good idea is to start with a family plan of action in case of an emergency. This would include what to do in case of say a fire or earthquake, such as where to meet, who to call and what things to do. It is important to do this ahead of time to avoid confusion and problems. It is also important to remember that your family may not be together when an emergency occurs so make sure that family members know how to communicate with one another.


Good skills to hone would include administering CPR, utilizing first aid skills, or using a fire extinguisher. Also practicing how to escape a fire or what places would be safe in case of an earthquake or tornado.


It is important to have some basic supplies and a good place to start is by having a 72 – hour kit. You do not have to spend a lot of money on this just get a small bag (preferably a backpack)  and the basics include a three-day supply of water, non perishable food, a first aid kit, a battery powered radio, flashlight, a whistle to signal for help, a wrench (for turning off utilities), a dust mask, local maps are some of the basic items that should be included in the bag.   

Other items to consider including are fire starting items like a lighter or matches, clothing, diapers or baby formula. FEMA also advises including things like a sleeping bag, eating utensils, feminine products and medications. To bide the time and to keep your sanity, pack games and puzzles which can be an easy thing to forget about when putting an emergency kit together.

Keep copies of important documents such as health care insurance policies, identification and bank records. But remember to only make copies not the originals that you can put into your emergency kit as well as putting them into some type of container that is waterproof. I would also suggest some cash and change in small denominations.

An important thing to remember is that you and your family may not be at home when disaster strikes and so have a small emergency kit in your car. This can be something small that would allow you to get home or manage if caught in trouble for a while away from home.