Emergency preparedness is a topic many people don’t want to talk about because it makes them afraid. But the truth is, the more we talk about it the more we can help each other.
The 2012 FEMA National Survey asked citizens about how much they’ve prepared for an emergency. Only 29 percent of people surveyed said they had current supplies (and could name three of them) stored in case of a disaster. The report also showed that only 23 percent had ever attended a meeting or training on how to be better prepared for a disaster. Now that was 5 years ago, so hopefully people are a little more prepared now, but I doubt it.
Emergency preparedness is a huge topic with lots of big parts. Sometimes when things are big and complicated, people get scared and they don’t even start.
Today I am going to give you three simple ideas of how to jumpstart your emergency preparedness at home.
72 Hour Kits
This is the most important first step to get your family ready for an emergency. You need to have the food, clothing and supplies that will keep you alive during the first 72 hours of an emergency. This is usually the most important time when things can be chaotic and you often feel helpless if you aren’t prepared.
What goes into a 72 Hour Kit?
Food for 3 Days (shelf stable foods)
Water for 3 Days
First Aid Kit
Something to put your stuff in (backpack, bucket, etc)
Personal Document Storage
After your 72 Hour Kit, you need to put together some kind of binder or filing box to organize your personal documents for quick carry and go scenerios.
Here are some examples of what you might put in this section:
Social Security Cards
Old Heirloom Photos
Digital Photo Storage
The last thing I’m going to talk about today is digital photo storage and how this relates to emergency preparedness. When an emergency strikes (house fire, wildfire evacuation, flood, etc.) you want to have the peace of mind that your precious memories are safe. In this digital age, most of our memories are now on our computers, phones and facebook pages.
I would recommend a dual backup system for your photos: an external hard drive and online storage. You should backup your pictures from your phone to your computer once a month. Then backup your computer to an external hard drive once a month as well. If you try to do it on the same day each month, it will help you remember. So if you have this hard drive current with your backed up files and you have to leave your home (evacuation, house fire, etc.) you can grab it and go.
But what if you aren’t home when an emergency happens? What if you are at work or on vacation when something bad happens? That’s when the online backup storage kicks in. For free or a small fee, you can upload thousands of pictures to the internet and then you can access them anywhere, anytime. You can have an online backup running in the background of you computer that does it automatically. It gives you piece of mind that you can retrieve these memories at a later time.
Here are some links to help you get organized:
External Hard Drive – This is the hard drive I have at home. I back up my pictures on it from my computer each month.
Shutterfly – I have used Shutterfly for years to store photos. I have about 15000 photos on shutterfly and I can access them anytime. I can have backups printed onto discs or make photo books. The best part is that even if you don’t order anything in years they will not erase your photos!
iCloud – If you are an Apple user, I would recommend using the iCloud system to backup your photos online. You get 5GB for free with your subscription and then pay a minimal fee for more storage. It is so well integrated to the Apple system that it would be a waste not to use it.
I hope these tips help give you a place to start with emergency preparedness. We don’t want to be part of the 71% of Americans that aren’t prepared for an emergency. We want to be prepared so that we can help ourselves and others in case of an emergency.
Emergency Preparedness 7 Day Challenge
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Next month, we will be discussing how to start your long term food storage for even more self-suffiency in an emergency.
Do you have a 72 Hour Kit? Do you have any tips or tricks for document or photo storage? Please leave us a comment below and let us know. Thanks.