Disaster Preparedness and Survival in Extreme Weather
Emergency Survival and Preparing for Extreme Weather
More and more, Mother Nature and weather patterns we’re used to have changed. Weather and natural disasters seem more common and more extreme. Whether it’s heat, storms and hail, wildfires, lightening or tornadoes, in this part of the U.S., weather gets unpredictable and often dangerous. Believe it or not, Georgia is one of the least weather-disaster prone states, but there are still a fair share of weather-related disasters that occur.
Question: Do you have an Emergency Supply Kit ready?
There are many outlets now that supply ready-made emergency supply kits. Portable kits are usually packed in backpacks and contain items for a certain amount of time (3 days, 1 week, etc.) If you plan to hunker down, you can also find bigger amounts of food, water and other supplies that come packed in water-tight 5-gallon tubs.
In this blog, we’ll cover portable emergency supply or disaster preparedness kits. should you need to evacuate, having these will allow a quicker bare minimum grab-and-go evacuation.
Considerations in Preparing Your Emergency Survival Kit
How many people and potentially animals you will need to account for. Emergency supplies will be different for a single adult or a couple, and supplies for a family. You will generally want one emergency pack for each member who will be with you and possibly one extra with augmented supplies. If you have pets, this pack could be for pet supplies.
Does anyone have any specific needs, including food and medical? If you have food considerations or have a medical condition, you need to prepare you survival kit with those added supplies. If you require medical equipment that requires power, your survival pack should have a reliable power source. Extra refills of your medications will give you peace of mind. You can rotate these with your regular medications so they are always within their expiration date.
Where you live can effect the kinds of emergencies you prepare for. If you live in a tornado area or hurricane area, your emergency supplies will be different from someone who lives in areas with snow area or someone who lives in an area with earthquakes. Preparing your home or car for these different natural disasters will also be a different process requiring different supplies.
Is your emergency an evacuation or shelter in place? These circumstances can also affect your survival pack and emergency preparedness plan. Since many people still work away from home, consider an emergency kit for your office and/or car. If you get caught in one place or mid-way, you’ll be giving yourself some wiggle room while you make your way home.
What are the Emergency Survival Kit Essentials?
Water – Water is heavy, but clean water is critical to survival in any disaster or survival situation. Current rule of thumb is 1 gallon per person per day – for drinking and cleaning. While you can store emergency water supplies in your home, office or car, it’s harder to carry it with you. Many backpackers and campers carry a personal water filtration device. It’s a filtering straw that allows you to filter and drink water from any water source.
Food – when planning for your emergency food, make sure to pack things that pack a nutritious punch. An option is freeze dried backpacking food that includes meals and snacks can are rehydrated with water. Foods that are nutritious and can keep are jerkies, trail mix, nuts, dried fruit and bars (snack, granola, energy). Canned foods can get heavy but offer tasty options. Canned foods are great if you are sheltering in place – and have a can opener! Pack a set of utensils for each person’s survival pack. Don’t forget to rotate your storage of food on a regular basis. If you have pets, include food for them; stored in air-tight containers if dried.
First Aid Supplies – Most people have first aid supplies at home and your emergency survival kit should contain the same. Minimally, pack bandaids, antibiotic ointment, gauze (pads and rolls), elastic bandages. You can also include antacids, allergy meds, pain and anti-inflammatory meds. Getting fancy, think about rubber gloves, splints, tourniquets and eye wash (make sure you learn how to properly use a tourniquet as well.) Keep everything safe from water – doubling up zipped plastic bags is a good way to go.
Shelter and Warmth – Keeping warm and dry is important in a disaster survival situation. If getting to a city or other shelter isn’t possible, finding or making a dry shelter is important in cold weather natural disasters. Pack an extra set of clothing, and even an extra pair of socks. Along with that an emergency blanket or several of them. These can be used to keep warm or to help you make a shelter. Something to consider is that some backpacking tents weigh less than 4 or 5 pounds. If you are packing an extra kit or are keeping a kit in your car, a backpacking tent or tarp can be a great asset.
Hygiene – Especially with a group of people, staying clean provides a morale boost in emergency survival situations. Diapers and baby wipes for baby; body wipes, toothbrush and paste and feminine products are all important for keeping clean and sanitary. Remember to pack garbage bags (kitchen-sized are a good size) to keep your trash separate from everything else.
Communication, Power, Protection and All Else – Disasters cause a lot of uncertainty. You may be in a place without internet connection. Investing in an National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) weather radio can help you stay on top of weather conditions and other related news. Often these radios include a flashlight component and can act as device chargers. If your mobile phone and external battery run out of power, the right NOAA can fill in for charging. Some solar camping lights deflate when not in use; these are lightweight and easy to carry in your emergency kit.
Other helpful things that don’t require a lot of space are whistles; pocket knives and multi-tools; matches or a flint set stored in a water-tight container; safety pins; packets of instant coffee, salt and pepper/other condiments; a pocket mirror; paracord; bungee cords and importantly, some cash (if the power is down, you will not be able to use your bank or credit card) and copies of important documents.
Helpful disaster survival tools that require more space and can be bulky are a camping shovel, a camping ax, a basic set of tools, extra batteries, tarp, duct tape.
Do Your Research
Remember, do your research. Being prepared for emergencies and natural disasters is not easy. Our article is an overall look at disaster preparedness. For more information on creating your disaster preparedness plan, planning your survival kit, and making sure you are tech-ready during a disaster, click on the links or visit ready.gov.
We’ve found some helpful YouTube videos with advice on family emergency preparedness and preparing a 72-hour emergency kit. Staying prepared for natural disasters, extreme weather conditions or any other other kind of disaster where you may need to leave your home can make the difference is surviving.
How to make a Dollar Store 72-hour Emergency Kit! by Do It On A Dime
20 Items you need in a 72 hour survival Kit by Keri Pratt
The American Red Cross always has helpful information on emergency and disaster preparedness.
- Food – non-perishable, canned and frozen (especially if you are sheltering in place with electricity).
- A first aid kit or first aid supplies.
- Personal hygiene items, especially feminine care, tooth care, soap (or body wipe towelettes), hand sanitizer, toilet paper and tissue. Some sources advise packing laundry detergent, but in a pinch, soap can be used to wash clothing and dishes.
- Copies of important documents and some cash. If power is down, you will not be able to use debit or credit cards.
- Lifestyle items – baby food, diapers and wipes; pet food and pet supplies; medications; if you have kids, pack cards and other games they can play while the situation lasts.