The Simple Essentials for Your Disaster Plan
Disasters can happen at any time in any place to anyone. Rather than dwelling on the potential of a disaster situation tomorrow, prepare for an emergency today. For some, just the terms “disaster preparedness” and “emergency plan” are enough to make them want to run and hide. If that sounds like you, don’t check out just yet. Creating a disaster plan and emergency kit may be the difference between life and death.
It’s easier than ever before to prepare and protect those you love. In just a little bit of time today, you can put together a simple disaster plan and emergency kit for your family. You will rest easier and be more prepared when disaster strikes.
Know the Risk Factors for Your Area
While we can’t always predict what disasters will strike and when, we can still consider the potential for disaster risks in our area. This means evaluating where you live based on its potential for certain disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or winter storms. If you know you live in an area that may potentially face a hurricane, your preparation will look different than those who live in the Midwest.
Knowing your area’s risk factors is also important because it will require you to learn your community’s warning systems for the potential risks, such as tornado sirens or disaster plans. For example, if you live in a hurricane zone, your community should have a hurricane plan in place. It is wise to be aware of the community plan before you create your own disaster plan.
Create a Family Disaster Plan That Designates a Meeting Place
The best way to have peace of mind about potential disasters is to have a family disaster plan already in place. Essentially, a family disaster plan is a plan for where to meet and who (and how) to contact in case of an emergency. The plan is communicated to all members of the household. Here are the components of a basic family disaster plan:
Contact information for everyone in the household
A main person of contact who does not live with you (make sure everyone knows how to reach this person)
Designate a meeting place in case you are separated
Escape routes from your home
Safe rooms within your home
Instructions for where emergency items are stored and how they are used, as well as instructions for shutting off utilities
If this seems overwhelming, don’t worry! The American Red Cross has an easy Family Disaster Plan fill-in-the-blank template for families.
How Much and What Type of Food
FEMA recommends having at least a 3-day supply of food stored in case of emergency. Stock your emergency kit with non-perishable food. FEMA suggests, “Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation.” When you stock food for emergencies, don’t forget to pack a manual can opener or utensils. FEMA also has a guide for the shelf-life of foods for storage that is helpful.
How Much Water Do You Actually Need?
Water is a priority when it comes to preparing for a disaster. According to the CDC, “Store at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pet. You should consider storing more water than this for hot climates, for pregnant women, and for persons who are sick.” They recommend at least a 3-day supply of water per person.
It is recommended that you buy commercially bottled water and store it in a cool, dark place. This is because after disasters, water can be contaminated. While you can make water safe after a disaster, it is not as quick and easy as having clean water already stored.
That’s where Waterfull comes in. The Waterfull Barrel is an easy way to store fresh drinking water for your household. Our unique barrels hold 30 gallons of sealed drinking water in case of emergencies. 30 gallons is enough for 7 days of fresh water for a family of four and their pets. Rather than stocking a ton of commercially bottled water or decontamination supplies, one barrel is safe and effective after a disaster.
The Basics Everyone Needs in a Disaster Supply Kit
In addition to having a disaster plan, you should stock a disaster supply kit. Having a kit with the basics needed for survival after a disaster can be lifesaving. FEMA recommends everyone should have the following basic items in their emergency kit:
Battery-powered radio and an NOAA Weather Radio
First aid kit
Plastic sheeting and duct tape
Garbage bags and plastic ties
Wrench or pliers for shutting off utilities
Manual can opener
Prescription medications (a 3-day supply)
Other Items to Consider Placing in Your Emergency Kit
In addition to food, water, and the basics everyone should include in their emergency kit, you should consider the needs of your individual family. For example, some families may want to include the following additional items in their emergency kit:
Feminine hygiene items
Sleeping bags or blankets
Entertainment (books, cards, notebooks)
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Liquid hand soap
Copies of important documents
While you won’t store these items in your kit, don’t forget to know where you keep your cell phones, chargers, and backup batteries.
Other Disaster Preparedness Tips That Make All the Difference
It is also critical to store important documents, such as birth certificates or passports, in a safe place, such as a waterproof or fireproof safe or in a safe deposit box. You will need to access important document such as these in the event of an emergency, and you do not want to risk these documents being lost or destroyed in the disaster.
Having a plan is the best way to prepare for a disaster. In addition to knowing your area’s risk, sign up for emergency alerts. Ready.gov, American Red Cross, and the National Weather Service all offer mobile emergency alert apps. If you receive an alert about a potential emergency, you have time to communicate with the members of your household and locate your emergency supply kit.
‘I have no water at all’: Residents do their best to get by with bottled water after Hillyard water tainted – The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington
Build Your Own Emergency Kit
Building your own emergency kit is affordable and easy. Inside a plastic storage container or a duffle bag, place the basic items needed for survival, such as:
Water (at least a 3-day supply)
Non-perishable food (at least a 3-day supply)
Battery-powered radio and an NOAA Weather Radio
First aid kit
No Town Left Behind Partnership
Waterfull has recently partnered up with No Town Left Behind, providing Waterfull Barrels for NTLB to distribute drinking water to those in need. NTLB provides all-inclusive disaster support services, provides volunteers and supplies distribution to raise towns up after disasters strike them down.
“Together we lighten the load and ensure no town, person, or pet is ever left behind."