Think you are prepared for any emergency? Go down our emergency preparedness checklist to really find out!
Emergencies happen. Storms can leave you in the dark, and the Covid-19 pandemic has shown what can happen to finances. What about another stay-at-home order? Are you prepared for any emergency? If you have to think about your answer, you’re probably not ready.
Before an emergency happens, take a few minutes to test yourself with an emergency preparedness checklist. If you can’t cross off every applicable item, you’re not ready to tackle an emergency. Here’s what you need to know about prepping for emergencies.
What To Include In Your Emergency Preparedness Checklist
Everyone’s emergency checklist is a little different, but the basics are the same. Here’s what should be included in an emergency checklist.
Organize Your Finances
It’s frightening to think about, but there’s no guarantee you’ll survive the next emergency. It’s essential to have your financial documents in order and kept in a safe place. Whether you keep the paperwork at home, the office, or a financial institution, you want the documents stored in a water and fire-proof place.
The paperwork should include insurance and estate planning documents, along with your will. If you are incapacitated or worse, your family can still access the funds they need to recover from the emergency event.
You also want to think about having a supply of cash at home. It should be enough to gas a vehicle and purchase any other supplies. Power outages disable card payment systems. If any businesses are open, it will be cash-only sales.
Prep Your Home for Self-Reliance
You don’t need to stockpile enough supplies to last for years, only 14 days, but there’s still a lot to consider. You should be able to check the following items off your emergency checklist.
What to Have Ready in Your Home
- Water: You want to have one gallon of clean water per day for each person in your household. Water conservation is something else to consider. Do you have a container to collect rainfall?
- Food: It’s not a good idea to stockpile perishables. You want food items that will last and ready to eat. Canned and pickled vegetables have long shelf lives and provide important nutrients. Tinned meats like tuna give you healthy protein. You can also find dried meals that heat up with boiling water. You want to count on providing 1,500 calories a day to all adults and children.
- Light and fire: If possible, keep a supply of emergency firewood. You also need lighters and matchesstored in a waterproof container. Flashlights, batteries, solar lanterns, and candles ensure you are not in the dark during an emergency power outage.
- Blankets and tarps: Blankets keep you warm when the heat’s out and provide rain protection. Clearing away debris is easier with a tarp. It can also cover roof holes until repairs are made.
- Medical and hygiene: Toothpaste and toothbrushes are some of the hygiene items you want to be packed away for emergencies. Bar soap, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer should also be included on your emergency preparedness checklist. Bandages, aspirin, small scissors, and antibiotic ointment are items to include in your emergency kit.
Everyone’s emergency checklist is different. You may want to include self-defense items, along with an NOAA radio. Tools are something else to consider.
Something families may want to pack away board games and books with the supplies. It’s a good distraction when you’re stuck at home.
Emergency Preparedness Checklist – Have a Packed Ready Bag
The military refers to it as a bug-out-bag. It contains all the essentials the soldier needs for several days. You may not be running from enemy fire, but some emergencies require you to evacuate quickly. Areas prone to wildfires are an example of why you need a bug-out-bag.
You want to have one bag packed for each adult and a separate one for children. A separate child’s bag makes it easier to switch out their belongings as they grow up. For example, diapers aren’t necessary if your kids are five and older. The goal is to pack the essentials for their age.
Along with a change of clothes, your to-go bag should also include,
- An individual first aid kit
- Water bottle (32 oz)
- Two or three ready to eat meals
- Matches and lighters
- Rechargeable lamp or flashlight
- Waterproof tarp
Some additional items you may forget are your important documents. You can keep them stored on a flash drive to save space and keep the originals safe.
Other items to include are storage bags, soap, and toilet paper. You can also keep emergency cash in your bug-out bag.
Keep a Small To Go Bag Close By
Not every emergency happens when you’re at home. You want to be prepared at all times. Think of where you spend most of your time away from home. It’s where you want to keep your small ready bag.
It can be at work, the gym, or your vehicle. Wherever you stash your bag, there are a few items to keep inside.
What to Keep in Your Go Bag
- Small first aid kit
- One change of clothes
- Water bottle
- Phone charger
- Laminated emergency contact card
- Waterproof jacket
You can also keep a credit card or some cash in the bag. Pepper spray or other self-defensive tools are also a good idea. A non-lethal weapon may come in handy as you’re making your home in an emergency.
Emergency Preparedness Checklist – Keep Your Vehicle Ready
Your vehicle plays a crucial role in emergency preparedness. It’s how you get home to family or safely evacuate with them. You have packed bags ready with survival gear, but has your vehicle undergone emergency preparedness? Your emergency checklist should include your automobile.
You have more cargo space than you think, even with the spare tire and emergency roadside kit. These are two items you can cross off your emergency preparedness checklist.
Things to Keep in Your Vehicle
- Emergency contact info, laminated and kept in the console or glovebox.
- Paper maps if navigation systems are offline.
- Emergency blanket, coat, hat, and gloves for colder climates. Waterproof jackets for tropical regions.
- Jumper cables
- Tire repair kit
- Jumpstart battery if you have the extra storage space.
- Bottled water
- At least one day’s worth of rations.
- Emergency flares and signals.
If your vehicle is capable of towing, keep extra straps around. You may be able to help tow someone out of an emergency.
You may also want to keep traction boards, kitty litter, or sand on hand. Or you may need traction on icy or muddy roads.
Emergency Preparedness Checklist – Do A Practice Run Through
You have your gear packed, but do you know how to use it? It’s a good idea to take a few practice runs before there’s an emergency. You don’t want to be unprepared after your planning, and the best way to survive a disaster is to be ready.
Make sure you know how to use the gear. Practice changing a tire and charging the battery. Keep an eye on any stored devices that use battery or solar power. You want to make sure everything is always fully charged.
You can’t predict when the next disaster or emergency will happen, but you can be prepared. An emergency preparedness checklist is not something only extreme worries do. It’s the smart thing to do to ensure you’re ready for anything. Stock up your pantry and pack your essentials. You’ll be glad you did when you’re ready to survive almost anything.