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Are You Ready?

Would you agree that at least 60% of the nation does not have an emergency plan in place should something like a tornado, earthquake, or flood happens? FEMA believes so, with the vast majority of those being prepared residing in coastal regions susceptible to hurricanes. That means that in other areas, the percentage is much higher for those who are not prepared.

Question to you: Are You Ready? Only you know that question. No one wants to look bad in the eyes of others, and sometimes it is difficult to be honest with ourselves. If we can't be honest with ourselves on a question like this, then what else are we denying?

When people think of being prepared, they imagine a generator for the house, months of freeze-dried food, and an obscene amount of toilet paper (thank you 2020). In reality, it is way much smaller and earlier than that. If you are able to "camp" in your house for 3-days without need of're off to a great start. The key element is mitigating hazards and having a few items to make life a bit easier. The closer you can get to safely "camping" to the 14-day mark, the better you'll be!

If you need to get yourself ready for the potential of a spur of the moment indoor camping trip after a storm, consider the following:

  1. Lights. Some people think of candles, but if you have kids or pets, your indoor camping trip can quickly turn into an indoor bonfire with deadly consequences. Camp battery lanterns are easy and pretty cheap. Sure, you can go big and expensive, but ask yourself: How often have I had to use these lights? That should help influence how to form your budget.

  2. Cooking. Do you have a gas grill? Done. You have the means to cook, and in a pinch can start off with one heck of a BBQ if need be and share with your neighbors (yes, share). Canned foods can easily be cooked on a grill.

  3. Food. Every time you grocery shop, add a few extra canned items of whatever your family normally eats. When you put your cans on the shelf, put the newer items to the rear, and what you already have to the front. You'll rotate through your stock as part of your normal meal plan and will always have unexpired items at the ready.

  4. Water. Unless something happens to the water system, tap water is perfectly safe to drink. Stock up on some water flavor additives for the wee ones, and you are set.

  5. Heating/Cooling. This will be driven by the time of the year. Bottom line is don't risk your life by trying to use a gas grill to heat your household. There are other options, and yes, they will require you to go somewhere. Many fire departments offer their spaces for warming or cooling centers during extreme weather events. Also, friends and family are there to offer a hand as well. In-door fires of any type outside of a fireplace is dangerous!

  6. Emergency Funds. At first it won't seem like much, but try to save $20 per month. At the end of the first year, that will be $240 and each year you'll continue to add to that. If you can do more, then great. But it won't mean much if you don't start now.

The most important part of being prepared is being on the same page. It doesn't matter if you have a plan, if you don't share it with the rest of your household.

During an emergency, others may not have been as honest with themselves as you are in this moment. If you are going the BBQ route mentioned above in #3, invite your neighbors. Believe it or not, if you take care of your neighbors when they are in need, at some point they will repay the favor.

If you want some more ideas on how to prepare for disaster, visit our Are You Ready page.

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