Be Ready with a Home Disaster Preparedness Kit

Hurricane season is in full force and we've already seen devastating effects in places like the Bahamas. We are used to seeing the effects of these events on TV, but sometimes it is hard to imagine our lives being disrupted and not being able to go about our everyday activities as usual. The things we see on TV are happening to others and could never happen to us, right?

Fortunately, there are easy things you can start doing right now to prepare for severe weather.  It is important to assess what types of weather events you should be prepared for.  Here in South Texas, being held hostage in our homes during a blizzard is very unlikely to happen, but we have to be ready for floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes.  Whether it's building an earthquake emergency kit or a hurricane kit, everyone should have a customized plan and emergency supplies in place to fit their needs.

For National Preparedness Month our expert, Grace, shares a few tips she and her family use for basic readiness at home.  These tips can help make things a little easier no matter what situation you’re facing.

Have a plan, but be prepared to change it as needed.

We live out in the country and go through 3 low water crossings to get to town.  So for us, having a little extra is just part of living.  One of my dear friends was affected by flooding in East Texas a few years ago.  They also live in a rural area, and their road was washed out, but they thankfully stayed safe and at home enjoying some quality family time together.  She said that experience was an eye opener for her to see what adjustments she needed to make in her family’s emergency preparedness plan.

Don’t depend on outside help.

While any event is stressful, you can at least be ready so you don’t have to worry about basic survival supplies.  If you think the government will come to your rescue, you might be waiting for a while.  It will take them at least 3 days to get to you, and I use that 3 days very loosely.  It usually takes longer for them to mobilize.  Now don't get panicky and think this is a doomsday post – it’s not!  I am about being practical.  Here are just a few tips that my family has implemented that you can do today to be ready for tomorrow.

1. When you go to the store, pick up a few extra cans of food.  (Make sure you have a manual can opener in case you lose power so you can open can goods!)

2. Be sure to also pick up a case or 2 of drinking water.

3. Think about power alternatives.  Make sure you have extra propane or an alternative fuel to cook such as a camp stove, burner stove, charcoal, etc.

4. It’s always nice to have some comfort food available in a stressful situation.  Some examples are chips, candy, sunflower seeds, assorted nuts, etc.

5. Make sure you store water, not only to drink, but also for flushing your toilets!  I use bleach bottles to store my extra water.  When the bleach bottle is empty, I fill it with water.  Make sure you use unscented bleach bottles.  We also have a water storage tank attached to our well.

Everyone is at varying degrees of preparedness, but having a plan and putting that plan into action is the first step in the right direction!  Are you ready for the next big storm?  What is your disaster preparedness plan?

Photo courtesy of E. Huber