5 Tips for Weather-Ready Emergency Planning

By John Rose, February 27, 2015, FAQs, News

5 Tips for Weather-Ready Emergency PlanningWith winter weather hammering the Northeast, and tornado season quickly approaching in the South and Midwest, now is a great time to begin thinking about disaster preparedness. Specifically, let’s discuss some DIY ways to stare down the fury of Mother Nature.

First things first, this will not be an exhaustive list of things you can make for yourself, since you’d also have to have the supplies on hand during the crisis – and you’d have other things to worry about when the storm hits. Instead, I recommend you find available options for emergency kits and products that already exist, starting with a Google search of “emergency kit.”

The real planning comes in prepping what you can’t buy. Here are a few DIY tips to help your family prepare for emergencies.

1) Have an Alternate Supply Drop to Diversify Your Preparedness

When my wife and I assembled our tornado kit, one thing became very clear: if we were hit with a tornado, there is little guarantee that the kit would be intact after the incident. Since my wife’s office is in a bunker of a building, we keep a separate stock of necessary supplies there during adverse weather seasons. This includes food, water, diapers, cloths, and comfort essentials in case our original supply becomes unavailable.

2) Keep a “Go Bag” Ready at All Times

A large and well-stocked emergency kit is great when you are forced to shelter in place (e.g. power goes out during a blizzard), but sometimes life doesn’t allow you to stay put or to carry a large box with you. For those times when you simply need to “go”, have one or more convenient bags ready to take with you immediately.

This could be as simple as a pair of duffel bags or a well-stocked hiking backpack. No matter what you choose, the basic idea is the same: a bag of essentials that is ready to go when you need to run. I recommend this bag include a spare set of keys, Powerbars, a few bottles of drinking water, cleaning wipes, medications, basic toiletries, a small first aid kit, and items for personal protection. Oh, and don’t forget some rope!

5 Tips for Weather-Ready Emergency Planning3) Have a Communication Plan and Offsite Meeting Place.

Unfortunately, emergencies can separate friends and family. Ensure people stay in touch during these situations by assigning designated meeting places offsite, complete with alternate means of communication in case you lose your phone.

4) Take Care of Your Documents

All of my family’s important documents (records, passports, social security cards, etc.) are located in a safe place, away from home. In the future, we will take this one step further by digitizing all of our important documents and storing them online. In addition to your necessary paperwork, take the time to have family documents and old photographs digitally preserved, because once they’re gone, there’s no getting them back. Also, if you have a safe place where you store supplies and paperwork, you may also want to consider storing a few cherished items there as well.

5) Prepare for the Worst

As scary as this sounds, make sure your affairs are in order. The idea behind preparedness is to make it through tough situations, but the sad reality is that it’s not always possible. Take care of your loved ones by preparing a will, a living will, and a list of necessary information (including accounts and passwords).

By no means will I discourage you from getting hardcore with your DIY. Feel free to make tin can stoves and makeshift oil lamps, but for the responsible individual preparing for difficult situations, basic supplies are only part of the equation. Planning above and beyond the basics can help transform your response to a situation, and give you some solid ground to stand on. Besides, while a sound knowledge of DIY emergency tactics is great to have at one’s disposal, let’s face it: A disaster kit containing food with a 5-year shelf life and pre-made fire starters that work under water is a good way to get ready for a Viking or zombie invasion.


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