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Prepping for the Next Emergency or Disaster – what’s on your checklist?

The news this year has been filled with hurricanes, floods, forest fires and earthquakes — and that's not even considering the personal emergencies that folks have that can upturn their schedules and routines. 

While we don't know when that next emergency may hit, we do know it's never too early to begin thinking about emergency and disaster prep!

AAFA has a  for all of us who are trying to remember where that Coleman lantern is. 

Another great website to help you assess your risks is , which has a state-by-state map to help us figure out what natural disasters in our state that we should be planning for.

Some dangers — hurricanes, blizzards and flooding — we may have more warning ahead of time. 

Others, like earthquakes, forest fires, mudslides or tornadoes, come out of the clear blue. 

Here are some other sorts of emergencies we may not see coming:

  • family medical emergency
  • a local power outage — blackout or brown-out
  • a chemical spill or explosion in your town

What do you do to have some basic preparations ready? And for all of those in Hurricane Nate's path, please let us know how you're doing! 

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  • Jen

    Here are some of the things we do:

    • bin with flashlights, lanterns and batteries
    • if we know something is coming, we try to have all of our electronic devices and portable chargers charged and ready to go
    • keep our medications in an easy to access spot
    • we usually have a pretty good stash of bottled water and shelf stable food

    I'd love to hear some other ideas.  I think we're really good about prep if we know that something is coming – ie a snowstorm or a hurricane.  However, for the unexpected stuff, we could probably improve.  Even though we're not in typical earthquake or tornado country, we have had both around here, so not completely immune either.

  • Shea

    I am looking into battery-powered nebulizers. I finally have a script from my doctor specifically for a battery-powered neb, and next I am going o take it to a medical supply store and see if my insurance will help pay for it.

  • Pljohns

    For me-make sure the cold case for my meds is good and cold and the ice pack is frozen, make sure the battery on the neb is charged and I have spare ones for the smaller one in my purse, all of the other meds gathered up; hand crank flashlight and radio, all of the electronics charged and charges/cables in a box so we can take them with us if we have to leave.  We always have tons of bottled water but I fill up the tub to flush the toilet etc and food that can be quickly cooked.  I'm lucky because my stove is dual fuel-oven is electric and top is gas. Even if I have to use a grill lighter, I can cook on the top as long as I have gas and that has never gone out.  We can use the grill too.  If we had to evacuate, I have lots of food that can go with us-might not be what the kiddo's like, but at least it would be something.

    We got caught in an ice storm a few years back and it as 2 days before we could get home.  I learned a lot then.  When it gets cold, blankets, snow boots, heavy socks, water and granola bars go in the trunk in a bin.  We now have chains for DS's 4×4 too and both DS's have a blanket, water and granola bars in their cars too-especially this year with DS#1 commuting to college. At least DH has to pass right by the college on his way home so he could get to him and hopefully I could get to DS#2.

  • K8sMom2002

    Lynn, I thought about you as Nate powered through Alabama … glad you guys are okay! And that's a great idea about having a go-kit packed in the trunk of the car. I have a blanket in there, but not much else. 

    Our last hurricane (Irma), I definitely had a go-kit of meds and important papers packed. It stayed by my bed at night, and near the door during the day.

    Shea, I think a battery powered neb is a great addition to your prep kit!

    I was watching the news this AM and saw the wildfires in California — thinking of everyone who's having to evacuate and everyone with asthma who is struggling with breathing right now …

  • Jen

    Cynthia – I was also thinking about those dealing with the wildfires.

    Lynn – Your mention of the cold packs reminds me of something I do when I know a storm/potential power outage is brewing in the summer.  I take smaller bottles of water and freeze them.  Then they can be used as cold packs for at least a little while to help keep fridge stuff cold.  If we're talking about a winter storm, I would stick things in coolers and toss them outside if need be. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Heard from a friend who has family in Napa, and their power is off — apparently the grid is going down. I'd never thought of that with wildfires, but it makes sense. So in addition to not being able to breathe from the smoke, people managing asthma also have to worry about not having power to use a neb. 

    I'm thinking of the folks in California and Puerto Rico — I can't imagine what it must be like in either place. 

    Jen, good tip! I also do that. Plus I keep lots of dry ice packs in the freezer. My dad gets meds shipped to him and he will sometimes give me his spare dry ice packs that come with it. I use that to pack coolers so that it will not melt and drip. Power outages = dark homes, and dark homes = hard to see spills and drips on floors!

    One other thing I need to remember to do with the next long-term power outage is to empty the ice bin in the door — as it melted during Irma, it dripped through the dispenser and puddled on the floor. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Just saw pop up … lots of good information for folks who are affected, and it also lists ways to help. 

    We have had so many disasters this year … I hope I don't give in to "disaster fatigue" where I don't want to help folks in need!

  • Jen

    The colder weather we've been having lately has me thinking about winter storms and potentially being stuck in the house for a few days.  We have a pretty good stash of food in the house, but I need to take a look at what we have in terms of heat/eat stuff in our freezer.  It's always nice to have those things to make if we haven't been able to get out to grocery shop.

    How do you make sure you're prepared for winter storms?