Part of living a simple, organized life is being prepared for emergencies, and our preparation is something I am very proud of. I know that if something really horrible were to happen, be it a fire, a natural disaster or a theft, we are going to be way better off than most people in our area. And this was because of some careful planning and organization that has taken place over the last couple of years, and because it is something that every 6 months or so I review and make changes to. Having that piece of mind really helps me to know that I have done what I could in case we ever experienced an emergency. I figured I would take this post to go over a few ways we have prepared in case of any emergencies.
For starters, I have created a notebook that has all the information and whereabouts of documents my wife would need in the event that something happens to me suddenly should I not able to tell her about certain things. Since I make the majority of our money and handle all the monetary issues, she needs to be filled in on a lot of things that she might not worry about on a day to day basis. This notebook is stored in the safe in our house, and has everything she would need to keep the household going for a while in the event that I was not here to do so. We have discussed this notebook and I believe I have put her mind at ease about being able to handle things if anything ever went wrong. Although the information in my book would probably not match what you should have in yours, here is a good list to get you started – Financial documents, Insurance documents, Contact numbers, Business information/income, etc.. I also keep all this information on our main computer and on a USB key in our emergency kit, just in case.
And then of course, there are our supplies. I did mention these on another site of mine, but figured listing them here would do more good than harm, so let’s take a look:
Cash – We do keep cash on hand in the house in case the ATM’s or credit card machines stop working.
Food – This is where I have been very diligent on stocking up. I have all sorts of canned soups, chilis, sauces, packets of Ramen Noodles, pastas, energy bars, condensed milk, and even a few MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) thrown in for good measure. Right now I estimate that the two of us could easily last a few weeks on what I have stored. I also have a giant bag of cat food for the little guy (and us, if necessary)!
Water – This is even more important than food, really. I have 20 gallons of water stored in the garage and another 3 frozen in our freezer. We also have a 1,500 gallon cistern buried in our yard that collects all the rain and snow melt from the roof. (Cistern was here when we moved in, but so glad to have it) The water for our house comes from a well that has a solar powered (electric backup) pump. There are also water purification tablets for if we need to clean up dirty water.
First Aid Supplies – In the house we have the normal stuff – Band-Aids, aspirin, Neosporin, gauze pads, wrapping tape, etc.. But in the garage I have stored more of it along with ice packs, ace bandages, sewing needles, razor blades, antibiotics (they last a long time, just ask your doctor. The expiration dates are made by the pharmaceutical companies), extra prescription medicines (if we are on any at some point), and assorted other items.
General supplies – Tons of candles, waterproof matches and lighters, glow sticks, 2 wind-up shortwave/AM/FM/flashlight combo units, an extra cellphone for dialing 911, a solar battery/cellphone charger, heavy blankets and extra winter clothes. Also have an axe for cutting firewood, several knives, heavy duty gloves, rain jackets, rope, emergency tent, and of course all of our camping gear as well!
Personal Documents – In our house, we have a small safe filled with paper photocopies of our driver’s licenses, birth certificate, marriage certificate, social security cards, a few of our credit cards and a contact list.
So are you prepared for any emergencies? Knowing I have the stuff to get us through some tough times, at least for a little while, really helps me to relax!
Great list! I have some catch up work to do…
David, I’m curious: do you have all your emergency supplies in one place? The safe, the general supplies, the first aid supplies, etc. I ask because I live in an apartment with few closets, and I’m curious about where you keep it all.
We have almost everything on your list, but I don’t have the space for 20 gallons of water. Any tips for apartment living?
Christine – We have most of it stored in the garage, and some still in the house. The safe is in the house (it’s small), along with some flashlights, food, etc. The rest is in tubs in the garage. When we lived in our apartment last year, we had the bottom of one whole closet filled with water and food(earthquake country, we had to be ready for real!) and we also had a big chest full of supplies. The chest doubled as a plant stand in our living room. 🙂 As for water, you probably don’t need 20 gallons, but should have at least 5-10. Also, don’t forget, if you know something will be happening, you can always fill up the bathtub and plug it up!
I had plenty of time to think about how unprepared we are for an emergency during last night’s windstorm. Although our chimney and outbuildings took a hit, WE are just fine.
I am going to start by moving our safe from the upstairs bedroom to the basement, just in case we are not so lucky the next time.
Wow, how scary Laura!
I served in LA/MI during the 2005 hurricanes and learned some valuable on the ground lessons that most people do not ever consider or prepare for.
Have 1-2 Alternative Communication Sources:
26 Mile two-way handheld radios, A handheld CB (Uniden. (as there were NO phonelines, no cells phones, no satellite phones would work or were down)
Have 1-2 Propane tanks stored both for an alternative heat & cooking source (gas, electricity did not work for 8 weeks in Cameron Parish, LA -Not a media covered area btw that was obliterated)
Buy 1-2 Extra Vehicle Batteries (buylong storage life, 900 cranking amp or Marine batteries) and 1-2 power inverters to attach to the batteries (buy at any local auto store) These can power basic applicances, Laptops, and other items if you can not get or afford a larger power generator)I keep one power invert right under the front seat of my truck, so I will always have a power source with plug outlets to run off my vehicle)
Obtsin a secure USB Device ( IronKey.com) scan and store ALL absolute critical documents, ID’s, Drivers Lic, local emergency center resources list/family contacts list, credit and bank accounts with hyperlinks built to some sort of spread sheet) If you are displaced, end up living in a hotel loose absolutely everthing, these can help prove who you are, file for federal help, and help with Unsurance claims no matter where you end up
Try to Buy Red Cross Certified Emergency Kits! Why? Many are made overseas, some contain lead in products, cheap materials that may not work in a time of an emergency as well as may contain other hazardous materials considerations, safe food/product certifications and expirations dates ( some expire sooner than the born on dates) or have no born on expiration dates. Check your dates. MRS Disposal now have environment concerns with the heat activated ones. Be aware of how you dispose to them. Re: Toxins and such.
Test your supplies and make sure they are of good queality and working order and that you and family member know HOW to use them. Case in point I recently tested our 26 mile hand held two way radios from my house to my dauthers house six miles away (she 25 years old, but consider your younger childrens ages as well in operational use of supplies if adults are injured etc) it took some talking through( an hour of our time) the steps so she would know which channels for us all to talk on and how to program that/lock it in and actually talk back and forth so we could understand each other.
Lastely, All street signs were obliterated, all known landmarks as previously known to exist were unrecognizable-gone. In other words, consider owning a GPS, google maps secondary meet up points and or hardcopy maps (with GPS locations annotated with some key reference points)
Plan where primary meeting points are in advance and map them on google, and sent to all family mambers. 8-12 hours after, 12-24 hours after, 24-36 hours after, 7 days after – if need be and in the event of relcoation, evacuation.
Just a few thoughts
Wow Alice, those are some great tips. Looks like even I have some work to do, no? Thanks!
David, more than glad to be of assistance. If anyone wants information on pet preparedness I have that as well. Don’t forget about your animals! And, consider students needs as well. I can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn.com and Facebook by way, Alice M. Fisher
My excellent source http://www.Americanpreparedness.com is a business I know of who is a US Army Veteran out of the State of Washington. Visit his site for some additional kits. He also has large VOLUME kits for churches, schools, govt agencies, businesses.