As you know, my Mom lives on Kauai and experienced the false missile crisis. When she got the text about the imminent missile heading her way, she knew just what to do. She grabbed her phone and computer, her big tub of emergency supplies (that she keeps fairly updated and within easy reach) and headed to her bathroom. She knew that her bathtub was the safest place in her condo and that her emergency kit would fit inside.
While she was telling me her story, I kept thinking about how I would have no idea what to do in an emergency at home. In work or school situations, there are concrete plans in place and people who know what to do. As a kid, we’re always taught to find an adult. At home, that person is me. And that is scary!
Is Your Family Prepared if Disaster Strikes?
Mine was most definitely NOT. I mean, I created an emergency kit for my son’s preschool because it was required. If something were to happen at his school, he’d have everything he needed. In hindsight, I should have created a similar kit for our home at the same time. But, Fall is a busy time of year and I was more concerned about getting my son ready for school.
Several of my friends created their own emergency kits last year after seeing all the natural disasters on the news. A few made kits to leave with babysitters or grandparents. They included everything from food rations to medical supplies to extra clothing to diapers and wipes. I figured I’d do the same. You know, at some point. But then I got distracted with Mom life and never got around to it. So, here are some simple ways you can get started. Contains affiliate links.
6 Easy Ways You Can Prepare for an Emergency
1. Teach Your Kids What to Do in an Emergency
While you are driving in the car, turn down the music and talk to your kids about what to do in the case of an emergency. Explain to them WHAT constitutes and emergency (i.e. “I stubbed my toe” vs. “My Mom is bleeding and won’t wake up.”) Then, talk to them about what they should do if there’s an emergency. Make sure they know how to call 9-1-1 from your phone (but emphasize that they should only dial if there’s a real emergency.) And come up with a game plan for them. My son knows to go across the street and ask for help.
Our initial conversation lasted 5 minutes. I touch base with him every week or two quizzing him on what to do. He thinks it’s a game to get all the answers right. I think it’s a smart way to use a few minutes. Once you assemble your emergency kit, make sure your kids know where it’s located.
2. Order an Emergency Kit from Ready America
Let’s face it, you probably have lofty goals of assembling your own emergency kit for your home. It’s probably not going to happen. Thankfully, you can just order one online. This is the EASIEST thing you can do. I have this Ready America Essentials Emergency Kit 4 Person 3 Day Backpack that will keep us going for 72 hours. This kit includes food and water (with a 5-year shelf life), first aid supplies, emergency ponchos, survival blankets and more. They also have this Shelter-In-Place/Lockdown Kit for 5-Person for larger families.
I like that these kits are contained in a red backpack, making it easy to spot and grab. I’m able to carry the backpack fairly easily. And they are compact, so they fit in a closet or the trunk of a car.
3. Add Personal Items for Your Family
After you get your emergency kit, it’s time to add in items specific to your family. Gather extra eyeglasses, medications, epi-pens, formula, wipes, diapers, and anything else that you need. If you have pets, don’t forget about their needs! And have an envelope of cash. With power outages, businesses may not be able to run credit or debit cards. I’d also suggest adding in some pens and paper. I know I’m always scrambling to find a pen. You don’t even need to search your house (that just adds something else to your never-ending to do list.) Just grab extras on Amazon.
And you might think about ways to keep your kids occupied while you are dealing with a disaster. I’m adding in a few travel toy items like these Reusable Sticker Pads, World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game, and Wikki Stix. You could also add in a deck of cards. And you can always grab items you normally pack in your carry on bag.
4. Write Down Phone Numbers
How many phone numbers do you know by heart? Truth be told, I only know my own cell number and my husband’s cell number. I wouldn’t even be able to call my parents if the battery in my phone died. So, take 5 minutes now and write any number you might need to call in an emergency. This would include family members, daycare, school, and work numbers.
5. Pick a Meeting Spot
Where can you go if disaster strikes your city? Can you go to a grandparent’s home a few hours away? Choose a spot that would most likely not be affected. Then, print off directions that use back roads. Chances are, freeways and highways will be packed, and your GPS might not work.
6. Mark Your Calendar to Re-Check Supplies
I’m a total space cadet most days and I rely on my Google calendar for EVERYTHING. That’s why I marked my calendar to check our emergency supplies every 6 months. That way, I make sure our food and water aren’t expired. Plus, I can add things to it as our life changes. It’s also a good time to make sure you’ve accounted for new babies or pets! It takes 1 minute to add in a calendar reminder and set it to repeat every 6 months.
And if you are really ambitious, try coordinating a neighborhood emergency prep event. We live in a new neighborhood and we’re planning a day where neighbors can get together and assemble emergency kits. It will be a good opportunity to meet our neighbors, pool resources, and talk to CERT specialists. I feel safest when I know my neighbors.
Thank you to Ready America for providing me with products for review purposes. All opinions are my own.