Most of us probably agree that it’s better to be safe than sorry and that planning for every eventuality is one of the best ways to gain long-term peace of mind when it comes to preparedness.
Whether you live in the an urban, suburban or rural area, disaster can strike at any time and in the most unexpected ways.
Implementing a few simple strategies today will help ensure you mitigate the results of an unexpected event tomorrow and knowing you have some essentials to prepare for any emergency can make all of the difference.
From natural disasters to economic emergencies, you never know when things could take a turn for the worse. Here are 7 ways to help you prepare for any emergency that may come your way.
Be financially savvy
Personal finance may not at first seem like a survival technique, but if you fall on economic hard times, a dedicated set of savings can make all the difference to getting you through a rough patch.
Even if you can only afford to put a small amount aside at a time, start building up a rainy day fund of whatever you can as soon as possible, and you’ll be on the path to planning ahead for the unexpected.
If you never need it, the money will still be there to use on something else!
Keep the tank (and tires) full
You never know if you’re going to need to get out of town in a hurry. and if the time to evacuate by road comes, you’ll want to feel totally confident that your wheels won’t let you down.
If you own a car or any other kind of motor vehicle, it’s great to get into the habit of maintaining a full tank of gas whenever possible. Similarly, make sure your vehicle is always roadworthy with air in the tires, working lights and oil/fluids topped up at all times.
When you’re safe in the knowledge that your vehicle is fighting fit, not only will you save money on potential maintenance bills, but more importantly, you’ll know it’s ready to go when you need it most.
Stock up on supplies
Keeping a supply of long-life food, water and sanitary supplies in the house is an excellent habit to form today.
Begin stockpiling a little bit extra each week and keep aside in a cool, dry area in your home (like a pantry, basement or spare closet). The things to stock up on are bottled drinking water or purified pouches, canned food and hygiene supplies like toilet paper, toothpaste, floss and feminine sanitary supplies.
Similarly, look to build up a dedicated first aid kit including the essentials for cuts, burns, bites and sprains as well as specific medicines for pain relief, dehydration, allergies etc. Keep this kit in an easy to access location (in a portable bag whenever possible) and be sure to also stock a sufficient supply of any dedicated medication for family members.
Have a grab bag ready to go
If things turn bad and staying put just isn’t an option, one of the very best things you can start today to prepare for an emergency situation is to plan and build a bug out bag that can be kept on hand to allow you to quickly evacuate in a disaster or other adverse event.
You want to ideally pack a bag that will provide enough capability to see you through for 3 days covering the survival essentials of food, clean drinking water, shelter/warmth, lighting and protection.
When it comes to assembling a bag to get you out quickly and keep you safe when times are bad, putting together a list of the essentials, starting small and then working up from there.
Even if you’re on a tight budget, in the world of emergency preparedness, it’s better to have something over nothing, so start today and look to grow your supplies over time.
Learn essential skills
There’s really no substitute for knowledge in a survival scenario, so learning a core set of skills today can make all the difference when you find yourself in an emergency tomorrow.
Some incredibly useful skills to begin learning include basic first aid, conflict resolution skills, self-defense and fire starting techniques.
Getting to grips with nature from reading weather patterns and understanding constellations through to learning to grow your own food are also invaluable skills that should not be overlooked.
Take classes, read books, watch videos, just get some skills under your belt!
Heat and Light
Whether you’re in a vehicle, evacuating home or hunkering down in your house, keeping warm is crucial to survival. Plenty of spare blankets are a must if you’re planning to “bug in” within your house so invest in as many heavy blankets as possible under the assumption that access to power and heat could be gone for several days.
A similar rule applies in a car (keep spare blankets in the trunk). If you’re on foot, dress in multiple layers and pack emergency blankets and sleeping bags as well as chemical hand and foot warmers, if possible.
Lighting will also become a priority in situations without power so high quality flashlights and spare candles are must have items. Invest in at least two high quality flashlights as well as multiple slow burning candles. It probably goes without saying, but plenty of spare batteries, matches and lighters are also a must have!
Keep in contact
Communication is critical in any emergency. Keep local and regional maps as well as physical paper copies of essential addresses and phone numbers for contacts from local services through to nearby (and distant) friends and relatives.
Remember, in an emergency situation it may not be possible to make or receive calls on a cell phone or even to get online if the power is out or lines are down.
Invest in at least one crank and solar powered radio and know the frequency to tune into for emergency broadcasts or updates. If you can, go for a radio that also incorporates a flashlight and again, keep plenty of spare batteries close at hand.
Taking even a few first steps in preparedness today, can help ensure that you and your family are ready to react to an emergency situation at just a moment’s notice.