Power outage, earthquake, robbery, accident… these are things we don’t like to think about. Panic and chaos are things we often equate with movies and the news. I experienced the Christchurch earthquake and now we’ve been reminded (again) that these things can happen to us! So is your family prepared for an emergency? If not, what can you do to prepare? Click the player to hear my audio podcast on this topic!
During the recent Auckland Power outage, our family just carried on pretty much ‘business as usual’ as our Solar panels (with battery storage) kicked in. We thought everyone had their power back until the neighbour came over to borrow our wireless and put a few items in the fridge.
Of course not everyone can have solar panels, and this is something that my husband arranged as we were part of a pilot project thanks to his contacts with his business Home Style Green. But there are definitely some steps you can take to be more prepared, whatever situation you’re thrown into…
There are two areas you need to consider: Your emergency kit and your plan.
Being prepared is so much more than having a couple of bottles of water and some 2 minute noodles in a plastic bin in the garage. Being prepared is also about mentally thinking through an action plan of ‘what if’ scenarios and ideally discussing this with your partner, housemates, family. I’m talking natural disaster like earthquake, tornado, volcano… or something else like a fire or burglary break-in.
Check out my blog on my Earthquake Experience. One of the biggest ‘take away’ tips is that having a plan is key. That’s what allowed hubby and I to bolt out of bed, each grab our designated child and get outside in the pitch black within a matter of a minute.
But first… The Emergency Kit
This can be a plastic bin with food, water and shelter but it’s also a great idea to have a ‘grab bag’ that you can grab and easily carry with you containing some food, water, warm clothes and footwear.
The Emergency Kit should be stored in a waterproof and relatively portable container. We have two clear plastic tubs. 1 for Food and the other for Shelter. Here’s a list to get you going. For more detail on this check out my list of Family Emergency Kit & Tips.
Bin #1 Shelter
- Blanket/Sleeping bags
- Clothes (polypropylene/ wool/fleece)
- Warm hat
- Warm socks
- Toilet paper
- Medical kit
- Paper and pen
- List of phone numbers
- Torch with spare batteries
- Wireless radio
Bin # 2 Food
- Museli bars
- Tin beans/spaghetti
- Can opener
- Tea towels
- Baby Wipes
- Cooker & Fuel
- Pot for cooking, wooden spoon
- Hand gel *sealed in a plastic bag
- Baby food, Nappies & formula *if you have a baby
- Medication, prescription glasses, contact lenses *if you need them
- Iodine for water purification
The Grab Bag:
This is something that you may just keep in the cupboard or in the car at all times. The idea is that it’s a ‘grab and go’ bag with a few items that will come in handy: Small med kit, Spare clothes for your child, a toy, paper and pen. Know where this is and similarly have your mobile phone, keys and wallet in a central place so they too are ready to ‘grab and go’.
You never know when an emergency is going to happen. Whether it be your child falling out of bed and gashing their head (as happened to my friend this week), a fire, a break-in or an earthquake, it’s good to have a plan mapped out in your head so that you can act on impulse when time is of the essence.
Tweaks to your Home and Habits
Do a ‘safety makeover’ on your home and move items that may cause a danger.
- Don’t go past the Glass: A mirror above a bed may look stylish but could be painful in the event of an earthquake. Similarly, mirrors or framed photos could pose a hazard if they crash to the floor, leaving broken glass in your path. Clear the exits.
- Secure bookshelves etc to wall.
- Backup your documents on a hard drive as well as in dropbox or google docs.
- Put your trio (keys/wallet/mobile phone) together in 1 place every night for a quick grab and go.
- Clear the exits: Every night, get into the habit of moving shoes and school bags away from doorways. If there’s a power out, you want to be able to get to the kids or out the door without tripping over.
- Know your neighbours. If you feel like you really ‘should’ know your neighbours then you’re right! Don’t wait for a disaster before you knock on the door to offer help. Find out who lives where, what they can offer and what help they may need.
There we go, some food for thought!
I hope I’ve inspired you to take action and remember the key is to be ‘prepared and not paranoid’.
What are you going to go and add to your kit?
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*For more info check out my list on Skinny Scoop of Family Emergency Kit & Tips.