September is National Preparedness Month – are you ready?
If the answer is no – and for most of us, it is – don’t panic. No, really. That’s what September is all about: reminding us to prepare, so we’re equipped in case of emergency or disaster. So check your worry at the door and dig into National Preparedness Month.
The month is broken down into four sections: Week 1–Flood, Week 2–Wildfire, Week 3–Hurricane, and Week 4–Power Outage. Take action. Make a plan with your family, your neighbors and your community. Commit to memory what to do and where to do it. Prepare yourself.
Between your own four walls, there’s plenty you can do to prepare your home and family for any eventuality, even if it’s just a fall evening without power:
Brainstorm Your Exit Plan
It’s important to have a family escape plan in place, in the event of fire or other emergency. Sit with your family and talk it over. Then practice, practice, practice. You should be able to execute your plan in your sleep.
Stock the Pantry
Designate a shelf or corner of your pantry as the no-touch zone – food that should not be consumed regularly, but rather stocked in case of emergency. A few times a year, swap out old no-touch zone items for fresh supplies (and, of course, eat up the first batch of goodies before they expire).
- 1 gallon of water, per person (3-day supply; e.g. 12 gallons for a family of 4)
- Canned, ready-to-eat food, e.g. tuna fish, chicken, beans, and veggies (3-day supply)
- Ready-to-eat dry goods, e.g. cereal and crackers
- Other nutrition-dense, ready-to-eat foods with distant expiration dates, e.g. peanut butter
- Don’t forget to stock a can opener!
- Paper plates & cups
Prepare Your Preparedness Kit
When the government names something a “Basic Disaster Supplies Kit,” it sounds pretty alarming. We prefer to call it common sense – or a preparedness kit. Basically, this is simply a list of things you could need in the event of flood, power outage, etc. And the good news is, you probably already have a lot of these things sitting around; it’s just a matter of storing them in a central place – somewhere your whole family knows to access them.
In addition to the pantry supplies above, your preparedness kit includes the following:
- Battery-powered, solar or hand-crank radio/flashlight combo
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to call for help)
- Dust masks, at least one per family member
- Plastic sheeting + duct tape, to build a shelter-in-place
- Garbage bags, bag ties, and moist towelettes (baby wipes)
- Wrench & pliers, to turn off utilities
- First Aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Warm blankets, one for each family member
- Change of clothes
- Cell phone with solar charger
Special, as-needed additions to your kit:
- For baby: diapers, wipes, diaper cream, formula, medications, etc.
- For pets: food and water
- For women: personal hygiene items, e.g. tampons
- Prescription medications
- Prescription glasses