Thursday, September 05, 2013

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month here in the United States. Some people hear the word preparedness and automatically think of the show "Doomsday Preppers".  Okay, forget about end of the world scenarios for a minute and just relax.

Not too long ago, in the late 1890's and early 1900's, almost every family had some type of root cellar or pantry. They had to keep one to survive. They would harvest all the food from their gardens and store it up for the winter.  If they ran out of something - they did without and had to wait till their next trip into town if they had money.

Nowadays, people barely keep enough food in their homes for a week let alone enough to get them through a rough patch of weather. 

Preparedness in my opinion simply means being prepared for a period of time when you can't get out and go like you normally would. 

In the winter, it could mean a really bad snow storm that knocks out the power for a couple days. In the summer, it could mean a torrential downpour floods your home or fallen trees that damage your roof.

There is always going to be rain, snow, hurricanes, tornadoes in our country. I'm only suggesting you be alert and ready in case one hits your area.

There are three steps you can take to prepare your family and home for such an emergency.

Get an App
There are lots of weather apps available that will notify you of any inclement weather heading towards your area. I suggest the Storm Shield because it basically turns your mobile phone into a NOAA emergency weather radio. Wherever you go it will give you messages for that area.  Another place to get weather related apps is Red They have apps for tornadoes, wild fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and even one to help you find an emergency shelter location.

Make a Plan
This doesn't need to be anything formal. Just sit down as a family and figure out if in a certain situation are you going to stay home (shelter in place) or evacuate.  They will depend on where you live and what type of weather situations your area normally gets.

If your family needs to evacuate, for instance, where will you go? What if you aren't all together when you need to leave? What will you take with you when you evacuate?

There are a bunch of things to consider when creating a plan and hopefully you will never have to use them, however what if you do. I've always believed it is better to be safe than sorry! 

 If you would like a printable form to help you click here.

Have a Go Bag/Kit
I've a been a strong advocate for having a go-bag. It is simply a duffel bag or a big plastic storage box that you store everything you would need to survive at least 3 days if you had to leave the house in a hurry.

Some important things to put in your go-bag would include:  water, non-perishable food, copies of your important docs (mortgage deed, marriage license, ssn card, birth cert., etc.), change of clothes, warm blanket, etc.   Also remember to pack diapers, formula, medications, eye glasses, and if you have small children a small stuffed toy to help comfort them.

Even if you don't need to evacuate your home for whatever reason, keep at least 3 day supply of non-perishable food and water in an accessible location. Also keep a manual can opener with your kit in case the power is out.

Figure a way to stay warm during the winter without heat and stay cool without air conditioning.  Power can be knocked out for days after a severe thunderstorm or snow storm.  You may wish to consider buying a generator to power items like your refrigerator or a small fan.

Get an app to keep you alerted to any weather emergencies, make a plan of action with your family and assemble a kit or go bag.

You don't need to plan for an "end of the world" event - just start by preparing your family in case of  an interruption in your own world.  Following the steps above will help you on your way. 

Stay tuned for more posts this month on how you can prepare your family for natural disasters and unexpected emergencies.

If you would like more information on preparing for weather emergencies here are a few helpful resources.

Supply/Survival Kit

Family Emergency Plan Printable

San Francisco Area Preparedness Site - this has lots of useful information.

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