Your Disaster Preparedness Checklist

There is an old adage: “prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.”  When it comes to weather preparedness this is doubly true, since there is often a fine line between the best and the worst, and a good day can turn into a bad night quickly.

There are many different weather situations that could arise and cause you trouble, and those vary greatly depending on where you live. Someone living in Florida is probably less concerned with a blizzard than someone who lives in Maine.

By the same token, people in Nebraska are probably less worried about hurricanes than folks in Louisiana, but both can be struck by tornadoes.

Regardless of what kind of weather event or natural disaster you are preparing for, certain parts of your preparedness plan should always be the same. With noted exceptions, this list should be pretty universal.

Disaster Preparedness Checklist

1. Money

In the case of many disasters, the internet and power may be down. If you are forced to evacuate, you may need to fuel your car or purchase other necessities. Your disaster kit should include at least enough cash to fill up your gas tank, which should get you out of a disaster area if needed.

2. Fill up Your Tank

This goes with the first tip. In the case of many disasters that require evacuation, there may not be gas at every station. In addition, taking the time to fill your tank when trying to get out in front of a hurricane when lines can take hours is not a great idea. Fill your tank every night, or at least any time it is below half, so you know you will be able to get a head start on trouble. 

3. Have an Emergency Kit

The basics of an emergency kit you may have around your house that will need include such items as flashlights, emergency whistles, backup device batteries, and blankets. To be effective in an emergency, these items need to be accessible when disaster hits. 

To make your kit accessible, find a central location in your home that all members of your family know how to access in case of emergency. Put all the items of your kit in that location, so they can be used when they are needed.

This is where the dangers of using your household items in an emergency come in. When everything is in a central place, they tend to disappear when they are really needed. 

If you take the battery backups for your phone every time you go to a theme park or use the flashlights for playing spotlight in the backyard, those items often never find their back to your kit when you really need them.

Your kit should also be organized so you know what is in it, and can access it readily. If your first aid kit is scattered around the bin or bag you store your kit in, it might not help when taking care of injuries in an emergency.

One solution to help prepare for the worst is to just buy a premade emergency kit. A packaged kit will include all the essentials, down to the food and water you will need to help you survive. Since these are redundant to your daily needs, they will have all the elements you need, when you really need them. 

You just add the items for your particular needs (extra blankets for winter weather areas, for example) and then your kit is ready to go.

In summary, having a disaster kit with some emergency cash, and keeping your car fully gassed up will help you to always be prepared for the worst!

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