Cassie Larsen submitted this article.
In the case of a natural disaster situation. You want to be prepared to take care of yourself, your family and maybe your close neighbors. In the days leading to a known weather emergency you don’t want to be battling people trying to get the last bottle of water off the shelf or going to three different stores to buy a flashlight. After the disaster you don’t want to be dependent on the government for all of your needs. You need to be prepared ahead of time to be able to take care of the situation.
I’m going to discuss some of the basic things you need to get yourself started on being self reliant.
1. Food- You can live for weeks without food. You won’t be happy or thinking clearly but you’ll be alive. So I recommend having a 3 month food supply always on hand. (http://looserounds.com/2012/10/06/the-importance-of-a-3-month-food-supply-and-getting-started/) If you can’t have a 3 month food supply or don’t want one have a 72 hour supply of food. 72 hour supplies of food can be simple MRE’s and power bars. It’s nice to have comfort foods on hand for yourself and children. Comfort foods can help ease nerves and help you to have a sense of normalcy. I don’t recommend storing freezer meals as your emergency 72 hour foods. In most severe weather situations you will not have power, there will be no way to prepare or store the food. Keep on hand a manual can opener to open all those canned goods, no power means no electric can opener. When thinking about what foods to store for the natural disaster think about what’s easy to prepare and will still be something you can eat without a lot of preparation. A natural disaster isn’t the time to pull out new recipes.
2. Water- You can’t go more than a couple of days without water. Water is a big one to make sure you have plenty of on hand. FEMA recommends storing 1 gallon of water per person per day for drinking, bathing and cooking for at least three days. For a family of four that would be 12 gallons of water. Remember to store water for your pets too. Water should be stored in food grade, PETE or PET containers. Don’t store water in old milk containers they will break down. I’ve even purchased water from the store in milk type containers that have broken down after a year and leaked. I use old gallon juice containers with great success. Clean out any container you use prior to storing the water with a mixture of household bleach and water. 1 tsp bleach to 1 liter of water. Storing water purification items is also a great idea in case your clean water supply runs out.
3. Lighting- You should have multiple lighting options. Flashlights, candles, LED lights, oil, fires, solar powered, snap lights, battery operated, hand cranked, and shake flashlights. There are many different types of lights in each of those categories. Find which ones work for you.
4. Medical- I recommend you have a basic knowledge of first aid and CPR. If that means taking a class then signup now and be prepared. You should have a first aid kit and over the counter meds. If you are feeling the need for more look into specialty equipment for treatments of burns, gun shots, and large wounds.
5. Communications- I recommend having a hand cranked radio with cell phone charger attachment. That way you can keep up on the news, have light and charge your phone. If the cell phone towers in your area are down and the power is out, you can use a phone that plugs directly into the phone line, if those lines still work. A battery powered radio is also good to have. It will keep you updated on what’s going on around you, and where to go if you do need assistance. Just remember to keep batteries for it. There are many great options for radios; hand cranked, battery and solar powered. It’s also good to have a list of the emergency numbers in your area. The emergency responders in my area suggest everyone write down the coordinates of their home. After a major disaster many street signs and land marks are gone. It’s even harder to find you to give you help if they can’t find the house. There are many ways to get the latitude and longitude of your home, the easiest way I found was on google earth. Just put in your address and once your home shows up you will see the latitude and longitude on the bottom of the screen.
6. Heat- You should have multiple heating options just like everything else. You should have blankets, extra warm clothes, breakable hand warmers, if you have a fire place wood on hand and the know how to build a fire, a generator is also nice option. Look into camping propane heaters. They can keep you warm and you can cook on them. But be careful when using them they can be dangerous. So read up on them and follow the directions. If you are not going to having power for a while and it’s cold outside move into a medium sized room. You can close it up, put blankets over the windows to help keep the room insulated and keep the doors closed. It’s helpful for a family to bring all bedding into the same room and sleep there as well. Use your body heat.
7. Safety- GUNS and AMMO!! You can never have too much ammo. Make sure you have the adequate training to effectively use your weapons in defensive situations.
Of course I’m not an expert so do your own research too. This is a list to get you thinking and started on emergency preparedness.