Once a month my extended family that live in this area all comes together and we do a family night where we do a quick lesson on a relevant topic, then we play a game, and we then we have dessert together. Each month we rotate from one of our houses to the next. Today was my day to host. The topic that I picked to do the lesson on was emergency preparedness as an extended family.
All one has to do is turn on the news and you’ll hear about another disaster happening somewhere – whether its an earthquake, or fire, or tornado, or tsunami, or volcano, or terrorist attack – there are constantly disasters happening throughout the world. I am not a person who believes we should live in fear of these things and I have found that the best way to eliminate fear is to be prepared to the extend that you are able to.
First we talked about the importance of gathering critical information such as birth certificates, insurance policies, bank account info, wills, passports, etc and having them digitized on an encrypted drive and/or keeping paper copies in a safety deposit box.
Next we talked about the different supplies its important to have in order to be prepared for an emergency. For example:
*It’s important to have a minimum of three months of the foods you normally eat in storage. And have some foods that don’t require cooking.
*Its important to have a reserve of drinking water (including keeping a few bottles of water in your cars in case of emergencies)
*It’s important to have some cash on hand and its wisest to keep small bills because in the event of an emergency if you only have large bills and you need a loaf of bread and someone can’t make change for you then you will end up paying with a large bill just to get a loaf of bread. So keep small bills.
*Have a reserve of medications you need to take, feminine supplies, birth control, and first aid supplies.
* If you wear contacts have an extra supply along with saline and if you wear glasses keep an extra pair in a well-protected case so they won’t get crushed in a natural disaster.
*Keep some clothing, underwear, and bedding in your emergency supplies.
*Keep some paper plates and cups and plastic silverware so that in the event of a disaster you have some dish wear that doesn’t have to get washed so in the event you are short on water to wash dishes in you still have something to eat off of.
We also talked about the importance of having a family plan for where to go in the event of a disaster. We talked about how to contact each other if the cell service is all down. We talked about the need to map out the what streets will be used to get to one another if you are at work or in school etc – that is really important because in a disaster you need to know the route you will take because if you are trying to find each other you want to make sure you are looking along the same path. We also setup having an out of town contact that everyone in the family will check in with to tell them if they are okay so you have a central point of contact. We also talked about how as an extended family, once we’ve secured our immediate families, we need to check to make sure our extended family is okay.
Getting our family prepared to handle disasters doesn’t happen overnight – it can take months or even years to be fully prepared – but we’ve got to make emergency preparedness a priority now because if we wait until disaster strikes it’s too late.
~Amy Rees Anderson