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How to Prepare Your Family for a Weather Disaster

Updated on September 9, 2017

I'd like to welcome a guest writer, Tina Sansone. She is a very talented woman who has an important message for everyone. Please enjoy her article and discover more about her at the end of the piece.

Always Good to Be Prepared

Preparedness is vital is all aspects of our lives. We need to be prepared when we enter school, when we decide to have a family, and when joining the workforce. While we all prepare for those aspects of our lives, how many of us prepare for emergencies/disasters?

No matter where you live, an emergency can happen: fires, snow, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods – weather that is not under our control.

Preparedness Checklist

Some things we can do to prepare ahead of time for emergencies are:

  • Money – If power goes out, the banks will not open. I experienced an ice storm in 1993, and the roads were too hazardous to travel, so most businesses, including banks, were closed. It is important to try and keep some money on hand – at least enough to get you through 2-7 days. It should be put in a safe place, and the temptation to use it for “buying pizza” should be avoided.

  • Food – Two days to a week of food is good to have on hand. It is important to note that refrigeration may not be in use if electricity goes out. Granolas, peanut butter, tuna, crackers, juice and items your family likes should be used. Planting a garden with vegetables and fruits your family would eat is a great idea, and a good way to get the kids involved.

  • Water – The water we get from our sinks may not be useable if the water supply has become tainted. If we have electricity, we can boil it, but electricity may not be an option. A good water supply is important, not only for cooking, but for bathing. When calculating for water (as well as food) don’t forget your pets.

  • Toiletries – There are items that we need, and if the stores are closed we will not be able to purchase them if we run out. Keeping extra toilet paper, feminine products, medicine kits, toothpaste, soap and other items is important to add to your list.

  • Emergency Plan – There will be times we may not be home when a disaster occurs; you may be at work and your children at school. We should plan where you will meet and how you will get back home, especially if the road has become blocked by ice or trees blown over. If your home has become destroyed (fire, tornado, flood), decide where the family will meet. Remember cell phones and internet may not be available. Choose a neighbor or a nearby church as a place you might can meet. Give children “code words” that lets them know if a stranger is ok to leave with, should you be unable to pick them up.

  • Back Pack with supplies – Having a back pack already prepared is great for t hose times you must leave your home quickly. Keeping some food, money, water, batteries, extra clothes and shoes, toiletries and other needs will be ready to go as needed. Some have even put a back pack in their cars in case they are not home. A 72-hour kits can be prepared to help you get ready.

  • Food Storage – Most of the time we are given warning before a weather disaster occurs, and for those times food storage will help you be ready for those times businesses and stores must close. While there are companies that sell food storage, you can also purchase a few things each time you go to the store. Make sure you rotate and be aware of the expiration dates. For a food storage company that you might want to consider, Wise Food Storage is where my family purchases their products.

  • Resources

  1. Provident Living

  2. Emergency Preparedness & Response from the CDC

  3. Plan Ahead for Disasters

  4. National Safety Council

Emotionally Prepare Your Children

Once you have prepared your family for the emergencies, make sure they are kept up to date, replace items you use and keep in mind the season. A back pack will probably only have room for one set of clothing, so have summer and winter items depending on the time and where you live.

Adults are usually able to handle emergencies, but we need to prepare our children ahead of time in the event of an upcoming disaster. During the event, they are too stressed, upset and scared to really comprehend what you may try to teach them. FEMA has a “Youth Emergency Preparedness Curriculum-Ready Kids” program - emergency preparedness curriculum for grades 1-12 that teach kids what to do before, during, and after an emergency while fostering critical 21st-century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, creativity, leadership, and communication. The Red Cross has resources and activities to teach children:

  • How to Talk About Disasters in Advance

  • How to Guide Your Child During a Disaster

  • How to Help Your Child Recover After a Disaster

The Time is Now!

Some of us realize the importance of preparing for emergencies, but we think we will have time. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Tomorrow may be too late. The week of my writing this, the world is experiencing fires, tornados, three major hurricanes and an earthquake. The time to prepare is now. It might just save your life.

Tina Sansone is a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves to write on many topics, but genealogy is her passion. She is the owner of “Past & Present Pathways”, Genealogy Editor and eBook Manager for and has coordinator for the “Excellence in Writing” competition for the International Society of Family History & Writers for the last few years. In 2016, she wrote a genealogy column, “Genealogy in Germantown” for her local newspaper. Tina is a retired Real Estate agent, and currently spends her days taking care of her disabled husband and adult son. For many years she owned her own cleaning business, currently spends her time doing genealogical research and writing. She is a member of APG, ISFHWE and the TN Genealogical Society. She has her degree in Medical Administration and certification in Microsoft Office.


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