Be Ready to Survive an Emergency

By Amy Hannold

Frugal Living Editor

It happened to me last week. I was at the dentist, sitting in the exam chair when I thought I felt the floor shake.  Was it an earthquake?  As a Mom, my mind immediately went into triage mode.  I first asked myself where are the kids?  Is their school ready?  My mind began an instant home inventory of supplies we needed.  Our Family Emergency Plan – everyone has that, right?  I was so sure the earthquake was in progress.  Then, an alarming realization- I’m not ready yet.  The awful moment passed, with no real earthquake. This “wake-up” call was a blessing, if I take action.  We need to get ready now.

If you’re like most families, you likely have most of the tools and supplies for an emergency kit at home- somewhere.  When an emergency happens, having those items together, and in good condition will make all the difference.  And, you must have a plan, in writing, ready for when disaster strikes.   September is “National Preparedness” month – so ask yourself – “Are we ready?”

Procuring your supplies can be done a little at a time, and affordably.  Clean, safe, and identified kits are essential for each person in your home.  Special needs for family members and pets also need to be addressed. All members of your family and caregivers need to know where the kits are.  Emergency kits are for emergencies, and should be separate from everyday supply cupboards.  Inventory your kits routinely to keep supplies fresh and to modify for changes in your family’s needs.

Here are some of my favorite preparedness resources:

Ready.gov is the premiere website for Emergency Preparedness. For you and for the kids, the information is there.

The “Family Emergency Plan”, is a must for preparing everyone you’ll be concerned for, now – before an emergency occurs.  http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/FamEmePlan_2012.pdf  There is also a “Child Emergency Contacts Card”.  Fill both of these out online, print them and distribute to all involved.

Here are their instructions for building a kit: http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.  Consider all who you may be caring for and what they’ll need, with these tips: http://www.ready.gov/considerations.

MonkeySee.com offers short videos, prepared by a Red Cross Representative.  These videos demonstrate great ideas and useful instructions:  http://www.monkeysee.com/play/6721-building-an-emergency-kit-tools

The Center for Disease Prevention has general ideas for building kits for your home, office and car.  They also discuss preparedness involving children and your pets:  http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/kit/disasters/

Families are busy, and buying all of the supplies for a kit can be costly.  I found a realistic, 5-week “Emergency Supply Shopping List and Action Plan”. http://www.summitcounty.redcross.org/custom/11/1120/misc/ShopList.pdf

As you’re getting your family ready for an emergency, connect with your neighbors and community.   Get to know those around you, so you will know who might need help, and who might be of help during a disaster.  Contact your local emergency management offices (county and state), to connect with notification systems and region-specific information.

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