By now, most of you have heard of or seen the show Doomsday Preppers. The show focuses on a small segment of society that go to extreme measures to prepare themselves and their families for impending disasters.
The odds of any of their feared apocalyptic scenarios are typically quite low. That being said, the rest of us can still learn a lot from the extremists.
Natural Disasters Can Happen Anywhere
I have lived in a lot of different places. I grew up in the lush mountain region of the Cascade Range in the Northwest, and later in the fertile Midwest.
My husband’s career as a Marine has taken us to the mid-Atlantic, the Mojave desert, sunny Southern California, and even the deep South. Each of these regions has distinct climates, and yet they share one common characteristic.
In each of these locations, we were vulnerable to natural disasters that could knock out power and water for days on end.
Depending on where you live, you are susceptible to hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, floods, or wildfires. If you don’t believe me, check out this website which maps out natural disaster threat levels within the United States. There isn’t much you can do to avoid a natural disaster, but you can minimize how much you will suffer by being prepared.
This isn’t the doom-and-gloom prediction of the complete breakdown of society that you see on Doomsday Preppers. For those of us who have spent a couple of hot summer days with no electricity and blocked roads leaving us confined to our homes with our sweaty, grumpy families, the value of planning ahead for such situations takes on a high priority.
What’s Included In An Emergency Kit
One of the best things you can do to prepare for a natural disaster is to put together an emergency kit. These are the things you should include:
- Water: one gallon of water/person per day for at least three days
- Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- 5 Gallon Bucket
- First Aid Kit and Instructions
- Medications: a seven-day supply
- Radio: battery-powered (and extra batteries) or hand crank
- Battery-Powered Lantern (and extra batteries)
- Flashlight (and extra batteries)
- Dust Masks: one per person
- Plastic Sheeting, Duct Tape and Utility Knife: to cover broken windows
- Heavy Work Gloves
- Moist Towelettes
- Hand Sanitizer
- Paper Towels
- Toilet Paper
- Garbage Bags
- Paper Plates, Plastic Cups, and Plastic Utensils
- Wrench or Pliers: to turn off utilities
- Hammer & Nails
- Staple Gun
- Bungee Cords
- Manual Can Opener
- Family Documents: See Family Binder for tips on what documents to include
- Address Book or Contact List
- Household Chlorine Bleach and Medicine Dropper: use 16 drops per gallon of water to purify water
- Personal Hygiene Items: Soap, Feminine Products, Toothpaste and Toothbrush
- Deck of Cards
- Paper and Pencils
- Activity Books: Crossword Puzzles, Sudoku, Word Searches, Coloring Books (See my article on travel activities for kids for entertainment ideas that don’t require electronics)
A Go Bag For When You Need To Evacuate Your Home
In addition, you may want to prepare a Go Bag for each family member in case you are forced to evacuate your home quickly. Backpacks are ideal for carrying all of the items.
- Dust Mask
- Pocket Knife
- Cash in Small Denominations
- Change of Clothing, Sturdy Shoes, Rain Gear, Hat and Gloves
- Sleeping Bag or Blanket
- Local Map
- Food and Water: Trail Mix, Peanut Butter, and Canned Meat
- Permanent Marker, Paper, and Tape
- List of Important Contacts
- Copy of Health Insurance and Identification Cards
- Extra Set of Prescription Glasses or Hearing Aid
- Prescription Medication
- First Aid Supplies
- Extra Keys to House and Vehicle
- Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Moist Towelettes
- Two-Way Radios
- Matches or Lighters (in waterproof container)
- Baby Formula and Diapers
- Pet Food and Supplies (all see this Disaster Safety Plan for Pets)
Printable Emergency Preparadness Kit
Here is a printable list for your Emergency Preparedness Kit so you can assemble your emergency kits and go bags. For items you don’t already have on hand and for pre-packed kits and bags, please check out the “Emergency Preparedness” section of my Amazon Store.