Natural Disaster And Emergency Preparedness Fundamentals

Updated: Mar 29

2020 was a historic year of extremes. 22 Separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters across the United States occurred. Natural Disasters and emergencies can be rare in some locations but are unavoidable no matter where you live. Taking note of what can occur in your area is a good first step to take in preparing you and your loved ones for any worst-case scenarios. Identify what could possibly occur near you is the first step in developing a plan.

What could occur in your area?

  • Winter storms

  • Floods and flash floods

  • Tornados

  • Hurricanes

  • Wildfires

  • Earthquakes

  • Combinations

  • Terrorist attacks or war

  • Man-made disasters

By knowing what can occur near you, a custom plan can be developed.

You and your family can work together in writing down what you need and start building your survival kit together over time. Make sure to develop a plan that starts with a meet-up location in the event you are not together at the time an event takes place. Also, have means of communication prepared if possible.

If you ever find yourself in a disastrous situation, remaining calm, collected, and logical is important. Having a plan in place and supplies on hand can be comforting in times of need.

A lot of people panic when they can't foresee what is coming, and by the time disaster strikes, there's not much that can be done to prepare. The last thing you want is to be caught in a state of panic with others. A little bit of effort now goes a long way. Taking some small steps day by day now can be a life-saver later.

Emergency services are often unavailable during these events. Several days or weeks can go by before help arrives.


Home Survival Kit

A home survival kit is key in being prepared. If you have to hunker down at home and can not safely leave the area prior to a disaster this is what you can rely on until the emergency is over.

It is an investment, yes. But it is like a personal insurance policy. Creating and maintaining a survival kit is highly recommended for anybody.

What will you need?


Most agencies recommend 3 days to 2 weeks of food and water but having a month or more isn't a bad idea if you can afford to and have the space. Generally speaking, you will need 1 gallon per day per person. For your pets plan on about 1/4 of that per pet, per day.

  • For a month of water, you will need approximately 30 gallons per person. Remember, you use water to drink, cook, bathe, etc.

  • Small plastic water bottles are not recommended because some may not be reliable for long-term storage as they degrade.

  • Be prepared to purify your water if it isn't treated. (boiling, liquid bleach, iodine tablets, or a filtration system)

  • Label and replace the water every 6 months


Personalize this to you and your family's needs and preferences. If you don't like a certain thing, don't store it in your kit. Create a meal plan and base your supply on that, or purchase emergency food kits.

Remember to store some things like chocolate and special treats. A drink mix is also nice to have on hand. You don't need to purchase this all at once if you're on a budget. You can invest a little bit over time. Each time you go to the store buy a small amount of supplies for your kit. Before you know it you will have a month or more stored.

Some people utilize a method of using this food prior to its expiration if it doesn't have a terribly long shelf-life. Rotating the oldest food to eat first and replacing the back of the pantry.

Establish An Emergency Contacts List

Create a written list of emergency contacts and encourage your friends and family to have their plans as well. Create a network. If an emergency occurs try to call during off-peak hours. Sometimes text messages may go through when calls cannot. Keep multiple copies of the list and laminate it or water-proof it.

Evacuation Plan

Have items prepared and ready to go in case you need to evacuate. Think maps, medications, first aid, food, water, pets, clothing, toiletries, etc. Having some emergency preparedness equipment ready to go in a bag or in your car is recommended.

If your at-home emergency kit is organized and light enough, nobody should have a problem transferring it to a vehicle. Remember to have a tire puncture kit(s) and consider having a portable air compressor and battery charger or jumper cables on hand as well.

Have the items identified for your evacuation supplies and your stay-in-place supplies if you can't move it all.

Decide where you would go and what route(s) to take. Practice the plan twice a year. Put the plan on paper, and use maps. Remember to designate somebody as responsible for certain tasks such as rallying the pets.


Knowledge Is Power

In addition to having an emergency kit, being knowledgeable can also be a priceless skill during an emergency. Increase your knowledge of basic survival skills and first-aid. Definitely print, copy or write out information and store it with your emergency supplies. Purchase or rent books from the library to help educate yourself and your family. If you homeschool your children, you can design lessons around any relevant information. but share with your family regardless.

Other items to consider:

  • Hygiene supplies

  • Protection / self-defense

  • Fuel (gas, propane, wood, coal, etc.)

  • General medications

  • Toiletries

  • Basic tools

  • Multipurpose tool

  • Knives

  • Diapers

  • Baby formula

  • Entertainment (games, toys, books, cards, frisbee, balls, dice)

  • Flashlight(s) stored without batteries to avoid corrosion

  • Batteries

  • Candles

  • Solar panels / solar gear

  • Communications equipment

  • Pet supplies (water, food, toys, leashes, harnesses, high visibility vest, reflective collar, reflective leash, rope, waste bags, health records, medicine)

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)

  • Legal documents or hard drive

  • Cash

  • Can opener

  • Plates

  • scissors

  • Cutlery

  • Emergency gear / first aid kit(s) (remember you may need more than what is in some first-aid kits, tourniquet, gloves, and much more could come in handy)

  • Evacuation procedures

  • High visibility vests

  • Generator or standby power generation (solar, other)

  • Emergency blankets

  • Charcoal / wood / matches / lighters / flint

  • Propane

  • Gasoline

  • Whistle(s)

  • N95 or surgical masks

  • Rain gear

  • Work gloves

  • Tools/supplies for securing your home

  • Hat, sturdy shoes

  • Plastic sheeting

  • Duct tape

  • Household liquid bleach

  • Thermometer

  • Garbage bags

  • Rope

  • Clothing

  • Signal flares

  • Activated charcoal

  • Baby powder (not just for diaper rashes)

  • Binoculars

  • Bouillon cubes

  • Chapstick

  • Cigarettes

  • Fishing Kit

  • Dental floss

  • Ear Muffs

  • Electrolyte Replacement

  • File (sharpening)

  • Gill Net

  • Glow Sticks

  • Goggles

  • Head Lamp

  • Heirloom seeds

  • Coffee

  • Laces

  • LifeStraw

  • Lockpick Set

  • Pen/Pencil, a pad of paper

  • Stove

  • Pepper Spray

  • Herbs and spices

  • Sewing kit

  • Slingshot

  • Superglue

  • Tin Foil

  • Trowel

  • Umbrella

  • Zip Ties