Happy 2011! At the start of this new year, consider these 11 easy ways you can prepare your family for an emergency:
- Know Your Risks
Plan for the disasters that are most common where you live. Maybe it’s a snowstorm over a hurricane or an earthquake instead of a tornado. Know your area and don’t forget about flood preparation – the most prevalent natural disaster in the U.S.
- Plan Ahead
With focused and strategic shopping, you are more likely to get exactly what you need and save money. Prices can skyrocket before a hurricane, wildfire or other imminent emergency.
- Budget For Preparedness
Consider emergency supplies as a standard expense. Even $20 a month can go a long way to help you be ready. Simply buy one preparedness item each time you go to the store.
- Personalize Your Kit
You may not need everything included in ready-made 72-hour kits and there may be extra items you require based on your family situation. Don’t forget personal medication and pets.
- Check and Test Regularly
Don’t just replace your kit items annually, consider cycling through items that have a shelf life (food, batteries, etc.). As with smoke alarms, test your radio and flashlights at least once a year to make sure they are in good working order.
- Store Your Own Water
Forget about buying expensive bottled water. They can be handy for short-term needs, but not for long-term survival purposes. Store your own water in large, safe, disinfected containers.
- Get Practical With Gifts
Give and request emergency kits and supplies as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries or Christmas. What if your friends and family gave you gifts that could save your life? Don’t forget to help them by sending emergency gifts their way, too.
- Manage Your Coverage
Review your insurance policies annually and make any necessary changes. When emergencies strike, you want to be confident your coverage will help you sufficiently recover. Renters should also have policies to cover personal property.
- Prepare To Communicate
Keep your contact records current. Maintain an accurate list of emergency contact numbers, family, friends and neighbors. Consider buying short wave radios to communicate when cell phone towers go out.
- Get Creative With Expenses
Trade one night out to fund a 72-hour kit. A nice dinner, a movie, and a babysitter will often cost between $70-$100.
- Cover Your Bases
Don’t forget to have kits and supplies in your car and at work. The average American spends more than two hours per day in the car and many more at work.
Preparedness = Peace
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably already well on your way to being prepared. Remember, the more you prepare, the less there is to fear.