I hope you are all safe and sound out there on the east coast. We continue to pray for your safety and that this storm would pass quickly. This monster hurricane has me thinking about how I need to be prepared for an emergency. If I had to evacuate my home, what do I need to take with me? What paper work and files are important? and where are they by the way? Also, what about emergency supplies and food? It's all needed and I know I tend to think I have time to gather these things together "someday".
This hurricane is a reminder and wake up call that I need to get my house in order "today". I've known for a while now that I need to put all my important documents into one folder or binder that I can grab on my way out in case of an emergency. I need to organize my documents, pull them together, and place them in an emergency binder. I also need to have emergency food and water. Is anyone out there with me? Let's get our homes in order- together. Sound like a plan? You know the saying, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Failure, for the sake of my family, is not an option.
So today's tips and tricks will be a little different. I want us to start thinking about what we will need in an emergency. Here's what I've learned. Work in steps. When I started reading about this, I was a little overwhelmed. There's actually quite a bit to gather together that I've never thought about. There's also the expense to consider when you're gathering your supplies. I can't purchase everything I need in one "emergency" shopping trip, but little by little, I can start buying my supplies now. In the meantime, I can start gathering my important documents and making my emergency folder.
Most important is safety. I want my family to have food and shelter first and foremost. I found some great supply list from 72 hours.org and the Red Cross. The most basic on these exhaustive list is to have 3-5 days of food and water. Plan to store 1 gallon of water per day for each family member. I have a family of 5, so we would need 25 gallons of water for five days, plus a few extra for our pets. Food should be canned and ready to eat with minimal need for water or heating. Basically, you use a manual can opener and eat out of the can. Don't think gourmet. Think survival.
Make a first aid kit. As a mom, I have band-aids and cortisone cream for the house, but I need an emergency kit separate from my everyday supply. There are things I didn't consider, all basic supplies that can easily be gathered and placed in a homemade first aid bag. The Red Cross has kits you can buy or you can use their list to make your own. Click here to view the Red Cross First Aid kit list.
Make an important documents emergency binder. Many of us have made a family binder with all the important information that our family would need. In an emergency, there are a few documents you should have with you if you need to evacuate immediately. Having these important papers all together will make the emergency and evacuation less hectic and stressful. The grab and go emergency binder is essential to our preparedness. You can find a list here from the Neat company and compare it with this list of important documents from USAA. Survival Cache also has some good ideas on how to make these emergency binders and other items to consider.
UPDATE: People on the east coast are saying their credit cards and ATM cards are NOT being accepted by stores since all the machines are down. An emergency stash of real cash should also be put on this list.
It's a lot to take in, isn't? But I think we can all agree that our little ones and big ones are more than worth the time it will take us to get ready for an emergency. We are blessed to live in a country that has disaster help and relief, but the more we are prepared, the more peace of mind we'll have to endure the disaster. This week, I'll be gathering my documents together and making copies. On my next shopping trip, I'll be buying a few extra gallons of water. I'm including this project into my personal Organizing Challenge, and I invite to come along with me to prepare your home. What will be your first steps in getting prepared?