“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” ~ Mark Twain
Emergencies come in all forms from severe weather, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and civil unrest. Most of us prioritize thusly: family, friends, work. So when the roads close, for whatever reason, don’t be that fool trying to get to work.
Remember, if you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t begin to help others (you become a victim rather than a helper). AND, if you plan ahead and store extra, you are then able to share with the elderly and the under-prepared in your community (you cease being the victim at that point, and you become a rescuer).
Every little bit of individual help like that keeps a disaster from becoming a humanitarian crisis. Never think of home emergency preparedness as a selfish thing to do. It’s a patriotic thing you can do on a local level, as it takes stress off of government relief efforts. Think of it as a humanitarian thing you can do. For instance, what you forego taking from Red Cross during an emergency (because you don’t need it) is basically like giving a donation right back to Red Cross to give to someone else in need. Also, don’t ever forget that humans aren’t the only ones who need help… your animal shelters probably always need extra volunteers and support in emergencies.
Most towns have emergency plans and in Bothell Washington this is their plan. Here are the risks they are planning for:
Here is a thumbnail guide to consider as you start to define or update your plan.
Make an Emergency Plan:
There are many plans designed for the different needs depending upon your status as a senior, parent with kids, etc. You might start by visiting the “I’m ready” page to draft a personalized plan.
Prepare an Emergency Kit:
- Water: one gallon per person, per day (2-week supply)
- Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (2-week supply).
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Paper Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
- Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Manual can opener
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
Designate a Neighborhood Meeting Location:
Once you have secured your home and family, you might want to check on the neighbors, especially if some of them have special needs. Pick a location that is easy to remember find, like the neighborhood mailbox and add that to all your plans. I might be helpful to know the house in the neighbor that has:
- emergency generator
- air conditioner
- medical, fire, or police professionals living there
If you check out the neighborhood after an emergency event, do so in pairs, with a buddy, and if possible a dog. My dog has alerted me to things that I would have never noticed on my own. Bring gloves (often the most forgotten item, helpful when removing rubble), flashlight, and maybe a communication method (two-way radio if the cell phone system is out) at a minimum. Here’s hoping we’ll never need to implement our plans.