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A Guide to Emergency Preparedness

Whether as a result of natural disasters, man-made disasters, or inclement weather, you will end up in a dangerous situation. The best way to ensure that you survive is to have an emergency plan in place. This guide intends to provide you with steps you can take, both now and mid-disaster, to give yourself the best chance for survival.

#1: Have a plan for if you either need to shelter in place or need to escape

Generally, the safest strategy you can employ in an emergency is to shelter at home. In an event where your family cannot serve as a shelter temporarily (such as a fire, a natural disaster, or a gas leak), you will need an evacuation route.

Make sure that your family knows how to escape from your home if the worst occurs. Learn how to operate a fire extinguisher if you don’t know already, and be sure that a working fire extinguisher is always present at your home. And make sure everybody knows how to call 911.

Should you need your vehicle, ensure that your car is in enough working condition to get you safely away. Checking the oil, gas, and tires regularly should be a minimum to ensure that a car can at least get you out of immediate danger if necessary.

If you are sheltering in place, you should consider preparing an emergency kit with enough supplies for 72 hours at least. This should include potable water, nonperishable food, and light sources that don’t rely on having electricity (flashlights, glowsticks, and candles can all work for this; don’t use your phone as a light source, as you may need your phone to contact others in case of emergency).

It would be best if you also considered having a first aid kit, which contains such necessities as bandages, gauze, and medical ointment.

#2: Learn a set of skills in case you need them.

Once you’ve gotten out of immediate danger, you will need to make sure that you can address any issues that prevent you from safely hunkering down until things go back to normal.

The most important skill to learn is some basic first aid. Having a first aid kit is useful, but knowing how to use the implements therein can make your life more manageable in an emergency. Consider taking a first aid class to obtain certification. First aid training can help you address wounds, perform CPR, and stop bleeding, among other skills.

Having experience with the outdoors can be beneficial; since many emergencies will require you to temporarily leave your house, you may need to be prepared to handle inclement weather. Outdoor experience can also help you to prepare for situations where you don’t have perfect conditions and can give you the ability to improvise whenever things go awry.

#3: Be sure to update your emergency plans when necessary.

Something to know is that everything that you use has an expiration date. Fire extinguishers require service annually, medicines can expire, and ointments can lose their effectiveness. It is important that you check your emergency supplies sporadically to make sure that they are still in date.

Likewise, emergency plans may need to change depending on new additions to your home. Whether you have new rooms, new family members, or even just a new pet, you’ll want to make sure they are included in any emergency plans you have. And make sure that, if you have any children, they understand what to do when an emergency happens.

#4: Don’t panic.

Emergencies are going to happen. No matter how well you prepare, something will happen. The best thing you can do to aid all this physical preparation work is to mentally prepare yourself for when something happens. To go through the steps in an objective manner prior to an emergency can help to provide a buffer against panicking in the event of an emergency.

For more information, check this guide from, which provides a more in-depth discussion of some of the ideas outlined here.

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