…and not just because the new Mad Max movie dropped its first trailer:
If the power went out today, would you have the means to keep you and your family seeing in the dark and warm in the cold?
If you couldn’t get to the grocery store, how long would you be able to provide meals for you and your family?
If no one came when you called 911, do you have the knowledge to protect you and yours from crime, fire, and medical emergencies?
If you woke up and your credit/debit cards no longer worked, and the banks were all closed for an indefinite time, would you be able to pay or barter for the goods and services your family needs?
Perhaps the recent bad weather or the unending stream of bad news on the television, internet and newspaper has you thinking about being prepared for an emergency.
Do you know how to assess your own level of preparedness? Would you know what to do in the case of a serious emergency?
Take the enclosed self survey and decide for yourself how prepared you are…
FUNDAMENTAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS SURVEY
(These yes or no questions will clarify your state of readiness for emergencies)
1. Has your family rehearsed fire escape routes from your home?
2. Does your family know what to to do before, during, and after an emergency situation?
3. Do you have a functioning flashlight in every occupied bedroom?
4. Do you keep shoes near your bed to protect your feet in a night emergency?
5. Do you know how to shut off the water line to your house? Do you need a tool to do so?
6. Do you know how to shut off the gas to your house? Do you need a tool to do so?
7. Do you have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in the proper places in your home?
8. Do you have and know how to use a fire extinguisher?
9. Do you have duplicate keys and copies of important insurance and other papers stored outside your home?
10. If your family had to evacuate your home, do you have an identified meeting place?
72 HOUR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS SURVEY
(These yes or no questions will clarify your readiness to take care of yourself for the minimum 72 hours recommended by the American Red Cross)
1. Do you have sufficient food on hand to feed everyone in your household without resupply for 72 hours?
2. Do you have the means to cook food without house gas and electricity?
3. Do you have sufficient water for drinking, cooking, and sanitary needs?
4. Do you have an 72 hour evacuation kit in case you were ordered from your home?
5. Would you be able to carry these kits if you had to evacuate on foot or government mandated transportation (buses, trucks, etc.)?
6. Do you have an established out of state contact?
7. Do you have a first aid kit in your home and in each car?
8. Do you have work gloves and tools for minor rescue and clean up?
9. Without electricity and gas do you have a way to heat at least part of your house?
10. Do you have a plan for toilet facilities if there is an extended water shortage?
If you’ve answered NO to any of the above questions, then that’s an area you need to address.
A Minimal Emergency Preparedness Checklist:
1. Water: one gallon per person, per day
2. Food: select foods that require no refrigeration, no preparation or cooking, and little or no water.
3. Flashlight and batteries
4. First aid kit
5. Medications: especially any prescription or non-prescription medications you or your family require regularly.
6. Battery operated radio and batteries
7. Tools: wrench, manual can opener, screwdriver, hammer, pliers, knife, duct tape, plastic sheeting, garbage bags and ties.
8. Clothing: seasonal appropriate change of clothes for everyone and sturdy shoes.
9. Personal items: eyeglasses, copies of important documents, insurance polices, toys and books for children.
10. Sanitary supplies: toilet paper, moist wipes, feminine supplies, personal hygiene items, bleach, hand sanitizer.
11. Money: have cash. In an emergency, many banks/ATMS may not be open.
12. Contact information: print out current list of family phone numbers, lawyers, doctors, insurance agents. Include the number of someone out of state you can call to take messages for scattered family members.
13. Pet supplies as appropriate.
14. Maps of the local area and surrounding areas.
1. Two weeks worth of food for your family. When you go to the grocery store, buy one extra of everything you buy. Goal: You won’t have to leave your house for 14 days to get food to eat.
2. Two weeks worth of drinking water for your family. One gallon a day x 14 = 14 gallons of water per family member. This is for DRINKING ONLY, not washing or even food preparation. Consider doubling it to provide for personal hygiene or if exertion is required in hot weather. Goal: if potable water stopped flowing, you wouldn’t have to leave your house for two weeks.
3. Two weeks of cash for ALL household expenditures. Add up every expenditure on all your debit/credit/out of pocket expenses for a two week period. Then take half of your monthly expenses (mortgage/rent, utilities, car payment, insurance, whatever) and add that to all your documented daily expenses. Keep that much in cash in your house or somewhere you can get it. Not in the bank or anywhere you can be locked out of. Get a safe or stash it in your house. Cash preferably in denominations no greater than $50, with the bulk of it in $20s and $10s. GOAL: If the financial system locked down under executive order, you would have sufficient cash on hand to meet your required expenses even if your electronic banking no longer worked and checks were no longer processed.
4. Fire protection: per your survey, fire extinguishers and training to use, consider how you’d put out a fire if there was no water pressure.
5. Medical: Minimum of 90 days supply of any prescription meds you or your family need. If those meds need to be refrigerated, get a 12V RV freezer you can hook up in your car or to an auto battery. Comprehensive first aid kit/supplies. If you don’t have training for first aid, identify someone who does or doctors or vets or dentists who would help you.
6. Heating: Have enough blankets/sleeping bags/warm clothes and an additional way of heating your home or a portion of your home if there were no power and the gas was cut off.
7. Autos: Keep all your cars fully gassed at all times. Half a tank is the new empty. Keep in gas cans a minimum of one full tank of gas for each vehicle at your residence, plus an additional can for lawnmowers, etc.
8. Protection: If you don’t own a gun, get at least one and sufficient ammo for it. Get training and consider getting a concealed carry permit. Be willing to use it.
9. Communications: Keep a land line in your home. Keep your cell phones fully charged and purchase a Mophie back up battery for your phone. Consider back up communications like CB radios or handheld FRS/MRS handy-talkies or even HAM radios. In your family plan, make sure every family member has addressed how they will let you know where they are and how they’re getting to you.
10. Once you’ve comprehensively covered two weeks, go to 30 days.
There’s more, but that’s a good starting point.