Preparing for an emergency, long before one is actually announced, is not only a good idea, it's the responsible and mature thing to do for oneself, family, friends and community. The platitude "Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance" will manifest itself, in a good or bad way, depending on how well you have planned. By the time a potential disaster event is announced, panic has already set in to the general public. Pre-planning (not just gathering stuff) is the key to preparation. It will keep a cool head when others have lost theirs. Information, below and throughout this web site, will help to make a plan and prepare for nearly any emergency situation.
Start slow and small with an Emergency Preparations Checklist otherwise it's easy to become overwhelmed and go crazy buying unnecessary stuff and over-spending. Like anything we want to purchase, we should make our shopping list, budgetforit and stay within that spending limit.
In modern day we have prepared for everything from earthquakes and floods, to super volcanoes and nuclear weapons. The host of problems that people prepare for could be anything from a simple loss of income, to the end of the world.
A common misunderstanding to preparing is for some end of the world situation or Hollywood doomsday scenario. Truth is, it's not about preparing for some statistical anomaly, but for the reallifechallenges that we are all going to face at some point in our lives; the kind of situations that will feel like the end of your world if you're not prepared. Consider these reasons to have a real, documented plan:
In the end, what is the "goal" of being prepared; what's the purpose for all this stuff? Isn't the government going to be there for me and take care of this? I believe that those who ask these questions have never gone through a crisis and those who are able to answer the questions have lived through a crisis and learned from it. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of an adult to take care of their family, community and themselves to reduce the impact of an emergency event. Being prepared reduces fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters. Yes, there may be public resources available if an emergency occurs but those resources will need to be shared (rationed - possibly thin) between everyone who is impacted by that same emergency. There is no guarantee you will be able to get exactly what you need to deal with the emergency. Don't take that risk.
To what end do we survive? Survive to the end. Then start preparing for the next emergency with the knowledge gained from the last emergency. It's said that if you can survive the first 72 hours of a crisis situation, it's highly likely you'll survive the entire crisis.
In reality we prepare ourselves for things every day that we don't even think about. We put gas in our vehicles today, so we don't have to walk tomorrow. We buy groceries so we don’t have to go out and forage for food. We buy insurance just in case. Every day we do "prepping", and don't realize that we are doing so.
In reality, we are not in a race or in some sort of competition with each other. Preparing yourself and family for times of need is the responsibility of being an adult. What you prepare for is a personal choice. It is also up to your family how much of an investment you put into preparing, as well as the extent you're going to go into preparations.
Preparing for your future, should be something you do while levelheaded, calm and with your immediate family. Preparations such as putting food, water and materials back is an investment. You need to have a plan and you need to think about what you’re going to be preparing for. Think of it as insurance, that you will have necessary items at times when you may not be able to gather them.
Keep your chin up! The sky hasn't fallen yet, the end has been near for a long time, and every generation feels like it will be the last on this planet. So far everyone's been wrong.
Prepping isn't a sprint, it's a marathon; learning bits and pieces a little at a time to develop the mind for putting those pieces together when they are needed. To become instinctual; second nature.
Chances are GOOD that something BAD will happen to you during your lifetime. Do you prefer not to think about that or choose to be prepared for it? You can't learn everything but you can teach your brain how to react to any situation calmly and rationally. Thinking through possible scenarios can prepare you to think on your feet when the bottom falls out and keep a cool head when the heat is on.
Read about, or watch a video describing a survival/prepper Skill, Hack or Tip every day. While it's good to practice that skill (at some point - sooner than later), planting it in the mind lets the mind work on it at a subconscious level and adds it to the brain library for later retrieval. During my daily (morning) devotions, I read the "Good Book", pray and read my latest "survival/prepper tips" publication which provides quick-tips summaries vs long, drawn-out explanations. I believe this routine keeps my mind active on developing solutions for nearly anything that comes my way. Here are some suggestions:
Wilderness Survival Guide, 365 Tips for Staying Alive in the Woods 365 Essential Survival Skills: Knowledge That Will Keep You Alive
One excuse used for not preparing for an emergency is that it takes a lot of time. True enough. Anything you pursue with passion and intensity is going to take some time. On the other hand, here is a list of preparation activities that can be undertaken in just five minutes. Preparing for a disaster or crisis or even an economic collapse does not have to be an insurmountable task. Breaking tasks down in to manageable chunks will make the job less chore-like and less of a burden. As a bonus, when you are done, you will feel the sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing that you have done something to secure your safety and well-being if it all goes to heck. Make every day a prepping day; even if it's for only 5 minutes!
5. Choose an out-of-state contact person that is willing to be a relay point for information after-the-fact to your other family members and loved ones. (Following a disaster, telephone lines to an out-of-state location may work when local calls do not.)
6. Introduce yourself to a neighbor you have not met. Exchange emergency telephone numbers.
7. Purchase a manual can opener on your next visit to the store.
8. Fill empty milk jugs or other plastic containers with water and store them in your freezer. The frozen jugs will keep your food colder for longer in the event of a power outage. The water can also serve as a backup source for cleaning or sanitation purposes.
9. Read Food Safety When the Grid Goes Down and print out the food safety charts at the at the FoodSafety.gov website. Attach them to the inside of a cupboard door so you have them handy after a power outage or disaster.
10. Mark your calendar with a date one year from now so that you remember to rotate your canned goods out of storage.
11. Purchase extra canned (or dehydrated [preferred]) goods each time you visit the grocery store.
12. Locate your utility shutoff valves and review the instructions for turning them off. Place a shut-off tool by the door nearest to them
13. Test your smoke alarms.
14. Make a list of all of your prescription drugs along with dosages and keep the list in your emergency kit.
15. Take digital photos of each room in your house. Take five minutes for each room and do you best to capture as much as you can. This will facilitate any after-the-fact insurance claims.
16. Write down your insurance policy numbers and your agent’s phone number, and put them in your wallet and in your emergency kit.
17. Add $1 a week to your emergency cash fund. If you can afford it, add $5 per week (or more) to the fund.
18. Make digital copies of your important documents and store them on a flash drive.
19. Make a backup copy (onto a flash drive) of the data on your computer hard drive and give it to a friend or relative to store for you. In computer terms, this is called an "off site backup".
20. Locate a source of water outside of your home such as a lake, pond or stream.
21. Learn to cook a pot of rice.
22. Download free prepping, survival and homesteading publications from these sites or other prepper sites you find:
23. Call (800-480-2520) or email FEMA (firstname.lastname@example.org) to order a free copy of their excellent printed book "Are You Ready Guide to Preparedness". For more information about this publication or others, see the list of Free, dowloadable, FEMA Publications.
24. Practice starting a fire using a bit of dryer lint, a cotton ball soaked in petroleum jelly or a flint and steel.
25. Sow some seeds, fruits and veggies that is, to start a garden.
1 - Build at least two emergency supply kits; one with everything necessary to stay where you are (sheltering in place), and a smaller, lighter one to carry if you need to evacuate (bug out). Make a kit for each person, being alone for at least 3 days without any utility services. Look at what you already have to start your supplies and think about alternative uses for those things. Basic preparations include:
3 - Identify a personal Emergency Team of family, friends and others who help you on a routine basis. It is NOT a good plan to fend for yourself in a disaster or emergency. Designing a plan with your Emergency Team is a great way to tell them of your plans and encourage them to create their own plan. Discuss every aspect of your emergency plan with everyone in your support network. Make sure someone in your support network has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies.
3a - Designate a friend or family member, who is not local, to be the main contact and communications hub for the whole family. In an emergency, the best way to communicate with family members may be (if public local communications are disabled) one contact person who is not local and thus not in the affected area. That person can coordinate among other family members who may not be able to communicate because of issues in the surrounding area.
4 - Have several alternative destinations, in different directions, so you have choices in case of evacuation, or not able to reach your home. Inform your support network of your alternatives.
List a place to meet or go in case you are not at home, or together, when disaster strikes. List alternate locations, in sequence, if the others (including your home) are not accessible or you need to evacuate the area completely.
Consider and List the locations of out-of-area family and friends, local Emergency Shelters, Hospitals, Parks, Arenas, etc.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
As with any plan, it is worthless unless it is communicated, tried and practiced, on a regular, periodic, scheduled (and unscheduled) basis, with everyone in the Emergency Team. Preparing and rehearsing an Emergency Plan Document is essential to preparation. Don't rely on memory or ability to calmly handle an actual emergency when anxiety and panic are normal responses. Regular practice helps everyone respond quickly, reinforces the plan so it becomes second nature, and reduces panic and fear during an actual emergency, freeing participants to focus on how to evacuate, shelter in place, or lockdown. Like anything, practice makes perfect. When the time comes and the brain wants to panic, a well-documented and rehearsed plan will provide structure, calm and clear thinking; reducing anxiety during an actual emergency. The second you get comfortable, the second you think you have things all figured out, that you hold all the keys to all the doors is the moment you become complacent. Complacency is comfort, and comfort is a surefire way to start losing your edge.
Review your plan when current events are happening that could escalate into a real bad situation.
Share, and periodically review and practice it, with your Emergency Team. Practice in a way that will truly assess the grit and endurance of your Emergency Team. Here are some things to consider:
Practice the emergency plan (both announced and unannounced) at least 2-3 times a year with all members of the household.
During practice, address and include pets and those with special health care needs or disabilities.
Test emergency communications, assemble at your meeting locations and practice your evacuation routes
Plan a Backpacking Expedition: That's right, head out on your very own backpacking expedition and venture out with only the supplies you are able to carry on your shoulders. Leave behind all electronic devices, cellphones, modern conveniences, electricity, the roof over your head, and your under–appreciated toilet seat.
Home Disaster Simulation: Simulate a scenario in which a disaster strikes taking out public electric and water. Over all, just cut yourselves off from the amenities you enjoy in better times, and you won't be able to go anywhere for additional supplies.
Practice rationing food and water by setting specific rationing goals
Review and update the plan document as needed after each practice.
National Preparedness Month is recognized each September, by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to promote family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year. "Disasters Don't Wait. Make Your Plan Today."
Make A Plan - Talk to friends and family about how to stay in touch before, during, and after a disaster.
Prepare for Disasters - Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family. Know the risk of disasters in your area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert.
Teach Youth About Preparedness - Talk to your children about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.