17 Aug Natural Disaster Preparation for Midwestern Families
We are no strangers to natural disasters here in the Midwest. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve definitely had our fair share. In the past 50 years, we’ve seen floods, blizzards, fires, more than a few tornadoes, and even a few earthquakes. And if you’re from Indiana, you already know that the weather can change on a dime and start wreaking havoc instantly. It’s for that very reason we think it’s imperative that you and your family are prepared for whatever may happen. We could spend all day talking about the different things you can do to start preparing for natural disasters, but for now, we’re just going to cover a few of the basics of natural disaster preparation.
Start stocking up on the necessities now. You never know when you are going to be stuck in your home, or if you’ll have power while you’re there. Avoid foods that will make you excessively thirsty and take into account any special dietary needs members of your family may have. For example, if you have an infant or baby that drinks formula or eats baby food make sure that you have plenty available. You will also want to make sure you have plenty of non-perishable foods that your family will eat, such as canned fruits and veggies, dry ramen, cereal, granola, and protein bars. Don’t forget to have a can opener handy!
Make sure you have a large supply of bottled water available. A good general rule is to have a minimum of 2-3 gallons of water, per person, per day. Dehydration is nothing to mess around with and you will most likely need to use water for general hygiene, food preparation, and general cleaning needs, too.
In addition to food and water, it’s important that you stock other necessities, like toothpaste, toilet paper, flashlights, and extra batteries. Store matches or lighters in a sealed waterproof bag. Trash bags can be used for garbage or as emergency ponchos if needed. Make sure to store extra blankets and sleeping bags with your emergency supplies. If your power goes out in a blizzard, for example, you will need a way to stay warm. Other smart items to add to your emergency store are Swiss army knives, basic tools, duct tape, water purifying tablets, rope or nylon cord, and a map. You never know what situations may arise so it is wise to be prepared for anything and everything.
Make sure that you have extra clothing for each person. Make sure that you have several changes of clothes for different types of weather, as well as multiple pairs of undergarments and socks. This way each person have clean clothing to change into as well as clothing that is appropriate for different types of weather and environments.
It is wise to keep a spare set of tennis shoes or boots for each person with your emergency supplies, this way if you are caught in high heels, sandals, bare feet, or some other form of impractical shoewear you will be covered. Again, you never know what will happen and when a situation may arise! Remember you will need to update the clothing and shoes as your family grows and sizes change.
In additional to personal clothing items, you should also make sure that you have clean towels and washcloths available for each person use for hygiene. Also keep a few extra towels and washcloths for other needs that may need to arise. For example, you may need clean washcloths to clean a wound should someone sustain an injury. Additionally, extra towels can be used for in place of, or in addition to, blankets or even as a makeshift pillow.
If someone in your family takes any prescription medications, like blood pressure medication, or uses a prescription inhaler for asthma, make sure you have what they need on hand. Make sure that you have written prescriptions for refills on hand if at all possible. You will also want to take into account extra pairs of prescription glasses, contacts and contact solution, feminine hygiene products or anything else that pertains to the physical well-being of an individual in the group.
In addition to having the imperative individual needs covered, you should also keep a fully stocked first aid kit on hand. Make sure that there are plenty of sterile bandages, gauze, and antiseptic available in your first aid kit. Include latex or vinyl gloves, hand sanitizer, hydrogen peroxide, and containers that you can use for cleaning and decontamination, as well as one for storing items that have come in contact with blood or infection. You will also want to make sure that you keep a supply of over the counter medications in your first aid kit. These over the counter medications can include, but are not limited to, pain relievers like Tylenol or Motrin, allergy medications such as Benadryl, or cold medicines.
The last thing we are going to discuss for your emergency store is important documents. Keep your birth certificates, social security cards, insurance cards, passports, etc in a waterproof box. Also, make sure to include emergency contact information and photographs of your family for identification purposes. It is also wise to keep a list of important medical information in the waterproof box. Important information could include any medications that are currently being taken, medical conditions that have been diagnosed, or the blood types for each individual person. This will help first responders assess the situation and respond accordingly should a medical emergency arise.
These are just a few of the many ways that you can help protect your family in the face of an emergency but perhaps the most important of all is to have a plan in place.
Have A Plan
Have a plan in place and make sure everyone knows it! When you have a plan in place and have taken the time to talk about what you are going to do in the face of different natural disasters, the outcomes are more likely to be favorable. Make sure that you practice the plan with all of your family members present and revisit them frequently. As your family changes and grows, the needs in your emergency store may change and your plans may change as well.