You may have noticed that the disastrous emergency events of 2017 felt like a dress rehearsal for Armageddon. First it was the horrific hurricane that flooded Texas and the Gulf States, before the second hurricane arrived and destroyed just about everything on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. And just when we were starting to get a grip on those massive disasters, the wild fires hit and burned thousands of acres of California. The fires were the most unexpected of our recent catastrophes, many leaving victims with only minutes to abandon their property before it was taken down in flames.
As tragic as these disasters have been and will continue to be, they have hopefully served as a lesson in making us all more aware of how important emergency preparedness is to our family’s security. Remember what the great statesman and inventor, Benjamin Franklin said about the subject, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” With that in mind, Augason Farms has compiled a list of 20 easy, yet crucial tips for making sure you’re ready for any emergency.
- Create a family emergency evacuation plan. Make sure that everyone in your family understands two things: how to vacate your house or apartment in a safe way; and where you are to meet after evacuation. Your meeting place should identify two locations – one near your house and one that is outside of your neighborhood.
- Make an emergency communications plan. Be sure that everyone identifies a person and their contact info that they can reach out to in the event of separation. Pick a friend, neighbor or relative that you all know and will all contact via phone or Internet to ensure everyone knows where all your family members are located.
- Don’t forget your furry friend’s safety. You should make a plan to ensure all of your animals are going to be safe in an emergency. Things like checking to see if nearby emergency shelters will accept animals; being sure that your Vet’s contact information is listed on your emergency contact card; and finally, proactively store extra food and water in anticipation of your pet’s emergency needs.
- Know your children’s school emergency plans. Obtain a copy of their plans and keep it with your emergency kit. Discuss the plans with your kids on a regular basis so that it is ingrained into their memory.
- Rehearse your children’s personal information with them. If your children are young, be sure that they know their full name, address and phone number. Teach them how to use the 911 system and explain how important contacting help in an emergency can be.
- Start and maintain an emergency food storage program. Regardless of your budget, you should start and maintain a supply of foods designed for emergency situations. You can start small and add more as your finances allow, but every home should have at least a three-day supply of food and water on hand at all times. For information about the kinds of emergency foods available and how easy they are to prepare, visit www.augasonfarms.com.
During March 2018, visit your local Associated Foods Store for a FREE CASE OF WATER with the purchase of any Emergency Preparedness Kit valued over $25.
- Make some “Bug Out” backpacks for quick evacuations. These small backpacks are filled with everything you need to survive for at least 72 hours. Emergency foods, water filtration bottle, duct tape, a premium First Aid kit, multi-tool, solar radio, cooking kit, emergency blankets, flashlight, toiletries and other items you deem necessary. Once you’ve compiled your kits, place them around your house in strategic places. Once you decide it’s time to evacuate, all you have to do is grab your bag and hit the road.
- Keep your car’s gas tank at least half-full at all times. Since you never know when an emergency situation could arise, you can never be sure your local gas station will be open and pumping. Often, major refineries are forced to shut down during hurricanes and floods, reducing the amount of gas that’s available nationwide.
- Keep some cash on hand to get you through the first week of a disaster. Some of the first things to go down during a hurricane or other weather related events are the ATM machines. And since most banks close during crisis situations, you cannot depend on them for your monetary needs. Experts recommend keeping at least $200 on hand (in small bills if possible) to cover your expenses for the first few days of any emergency event.
- Keep extra medications in your go bags. You should keep some extra over the counter drugs (aspirin, nausea and anti-diarrheal pills, etc.) as well as any prescription medications anyone in your family is taking.
- Learn where your utility shutoff valves are and how they work. Regardless of what type of place you live in, (house, apartment, condo, etc.) it’s important to know where your electric, gas and water shutoff valves are located. Be sure to keep any necessary tools required nearby and in a place that everyone in your family knows the location of in case they are the ones to turn everything off.
- Buy insurance and document your valuables. Since an emergency can strike at any time, it’s good to preplan by having an updated homeowners or renters policy in force at all times. You should also take the time to photograph your valuable objects so there is no misunderstanding of what you need to replace with your insurance company’s adjuster. It will definitely help when you file your claims for storm damage, etc.
- Keep your vaccinations up to date. From flu shots to tetanus, knowing your family’s vaccinations are up to date will give you piece of mind when you are facing the kind of conditions you may be forced to do during an emergency. Make sure you have a written record of all of your vaccinations. And, don’t forget your four-legged friends’ vaccines, either.
- Get to know your neighbors. Through neighborhood associations, school events, etc. it’s important to know your neighbors and to encourage them to be prepared for an emergency too. When a real emergency strikes, it’s neighbors who will depend on each other to get through the first crucial hours or days.
- Keep a pair of hard-soled shoes by your bed. You have at least a 30% chance that any emergency that hits suddenly will do so at night, so you need to get in the habit of performing some simple steps to help ensure your safety – hence, the hard-soled shoes. These will help reduce the chance of you stepping on broken glass or any other sharp objects you may incur when evacuating your home at night.
- Place an emergency kit in your car. In addition to a flashlight, you should keep a small emergency kit in your car that contains some food and water, a small first aid kit, an emergency blanket and some waterproof matches. You can make your car kit much more inclusive, but just including these few, basic items will guarantee your car will always be a source of emergency assistance.
- Take a first-aid/CPR class from your local Red Cross or YMCA. Knowing how to perform CPR or how to stop bleeding can be two lifesaving skills everyone should know. Don’t wait until you need to know these skills – be prepared by taking these classes now. Visit this site to find a class near you: http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr. You may also want to take the same classes for your four-legged friends too.
- Keep photocopies of all your important papers in one central location. Make copies of your drivers licenses, passports, birth certificates, social security cards, insurance information and medical histories and keep them all together for easy access. Be sure to place these in your bug–out bag so they’ll go with you during an emergency evacuation.
- You can never have too many working flashlights. By placing flashlights in different parts of your home (especially in your bedroom), you will always be able to see what you are facing and how to escape from immediate harm
- Practice, practice, practice. It may sound silly, but in order to consider your family “emergency ready,” you’ve got to practice and discuss all the ways you will face an emergency together. Rehearse evacuating your house and meeting in your pre-designated convening area. Check your bug-out bags regularly and make sure all your water and food and medications contained within them are not outdated.
Macey’s has teamed with Augason Farms to offer emergency food supplies and long term food storage to our valued customers for good reason. They’ve been in the business since 1972 and guarantee their products for great taste and superior quality. Maintaining a supply of Augason Farms products in your home is ideal not only for your emergency food supply but for everyday use as well. With Macey’s and Augason Farms, preparedness is simple and affordable!