The Ultimate Emergency Preparedness Checklist

The U.S. coasts have hurricanes, the West sees fires and earthquakes, tornados are common in the middle of the country, and snow and ice can devastate the north. 

 

No matter where you live, an emergency can loom on the horizon, or pop up without warning. You need to be prepared to have your lives interrupted, your house disabled, and your movement stopped for a time.

 

Putting together a disaster plan with your family, starting with how you will escape, communicate, and regroup is something you do BEFORE an emergency. After that, you should assemble an emergency kit.

 

Read on to find the ultimate checklist for emergency preparation.

 

Most Important 

During and after a disaster, the most important thing to have on hand is water. One gallon per person per day for at least three days will keep you covered for drinking and personal care. 

 

The other basic need is food,¬†of which you will need at least a 3-day supply of non-perishables. Don’t forget a manual can opener or a multi-purpose tool!

 

As part of emergency readiness, have a 7-day supply of medications and any medical items each person at home will need.

 

Communication 

A battery-powered radio¬†will help you to be aware of disaster announcements, and the “all-clear” signal to return outside.¬†

 

Your cell phone may not work, depending on how severe the conditions. But have it ready and charged up to let emergency personnel or family and friends know you are alive and in your home. A list of family members, both local and outside of town, plus their contact information helps you stay in touch.

 

Safety

An up-to-date first aid kit is a must every day, not just during a disaster. If you are lacking here, or if your kit is old and missing items, make sure you purchase first aid kit refills or even a brand new kit and have it ready for use.

 

Get one flashlight per person for navigating in the dark without power. Keep waterproof matches on hand, but remember that candles can be hazardous to rely on for light in your house.

 

Make sure you have some kind of plastic tarps to help keep you dry, and duct tape to keep things together. For sanitation, have garbage bags, plastic ties, and toilet paper/towelettes for makeshift commodes. When preparing for an emergency, stock up on hand sanitizer and use it often.

 

Other Emergency Supplies

If the weather is cold, have extra clothing, blankets, and appropriate clothing for all. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and shade providers will be needed in the heat.

 

As part of your emergency preparation, fill your car(s) up with gas. Other things to have in the car include a local map, white distress flag or flares, windshield scraper, tire repair kit, and jumper cables.

 

Have copies of needed documents, including insurance policies, medical information, proof of address, and any other papers that cannot easily be replaced. Store these in a plastic bag or box to prevent them from getting wet.

 

Have cash on hand, since banking and ATM’s might not be accessible.

 

Staying Emergency Ready

Keep all these items stored and ready for use, and check your kits every 6 months to make sure all items are fresh and ready to be used in an emergency. 

 

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