Emergency Planning – Where to Start?

As I talk with my friends, family, and clients, it is rather amazing to hear how many people are truly not prepared for an emergency. They haven’t thought about how to reach loved ones in an emergency. They haven’t thought about where to assemble when evacuated. They haven’t stored even a minimal amount of food and water. They don’t have a disaster kit. Many don’t have a basic first aid kit.

Before you shake your head and mutter, “Wow!” under your breath, how prepared are you?

What specifically would you do if a wildfire threatened your home?

Do you have a climate specific emergency kit in your car?

Is it accessible to you if the trunk or rear hatch wouldn’t open?

We can all benefit from a little more effort toward our emergency planning

I’ve been thinking about why. It’s the apathy. We all like to put emergencies out of our head – that will never happen to me. We are busy, and the emergency isn’t urgent, so planning gets put aside in favor of having clean laundry for school and work tomorrow. That makes me say “Wow.”

I’m no preparedness perfectionist. We could still use a little work on our plan, but we have food and water put away. We have winter survival gear in the car. We have a communications plan. Every day, I learn a little more about how I can secure my family against an emergency or disaster. I make tweaks regularly.

So, let’s say you haven’t started. Emergency planning is a daunting task. It’s crucial that you do it well, and that makes it a scary thing to do.

The good news? It’s simple.

Pick a topic and spend a weekend or a couple evenings a week to flesh out your plan. Say, your communications plan. There’s a worksheet here that covers key phone numbers and details. Take a little time with your cell phone and write down these numbers. Then, write them on the wallet card version (adult version, child version). There. It took maybe an hour, and now you have a good start on your plan.

One must first decide what is to be prepared for…

The first thing a survivalist should do is decide what is being prepared for, and to decide what can be prepared for in such an event, and what can not be.  Most people have limited resources, so prioritisation of efforts should be decided early on to prevent waste.  Its best to re-evaluate this list on a regular basis, as the world is constantly changing.

Start with the basics. Grab a notebook and pen and start an inventory.

Walk through the entire house and spend some time in each room thinking about all the tasks that are performed there. Write down all the tasks that are performed, and generally how often (Daily, weekly, monthly, rarely). Make sure to include tasks that all family members perform, not just the ones involved in making a list.

After all the tasks are written down, go through the rooms again, and write down all the items that are used doing these tasks, especially but not limited to the consumables. Make sure even the lesser rooms like closets, bathrooms, laundry rooms and garages are included.

Next decide which of the tasks are essential, needs, and wants. Essentials tasks are those that are necessary for life to continue: Eating, drinking, going the bathroom, etc. Needs are those that would be necessary for health and safety: Bathing, washing dishes, etc. Wants are things other than Essentials and Needs.

Next spend some time thinking about what all was written down, and as life continues over the following weeks, go back and make additions or changes to the list as necessary.

Use this inventory to help understand what items around the home are critical and what consumables are most important.

There’s a lot of other checklists, too. Finish them one by one and before you know it, you’ll have a great plan!

P.S. You can start putting together your bug out bag using our “what should be in a bug out bag” checklist. You know you want to! Even if you just scan through the article and spend some time thinking about it, you’re way ahead of the game!