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Preparing for an Emergency Part 3

Updated on June 19, 2009

Not only do you have to plan for any type of emergency, but you have to plan for emergencies at home and when out. An earthquake can happen at any time and most people spend more time out of the house than in it. Having to leave home suddenly or not being able to go home can be very scary and stressful. You never know when or if it might happen to you, but there are things you can do to be prepared.

You should have copies of all important papers somewhere other than your house. Getting new social security cards and copies of tax returns is possible, technically. But very difficult and time consuming. Make photo copies of anything important and either have it in a safe deposit box, or mail it in a sealed envelope to a trusted family member, preferably in another state. Chances are good if these important papers are in another state, the same disaster that might be striking you, won't be striking them. These items can be mailed to you very quickly if needed. You can do the same with your computer. Back it up and keep a copy at your office (secured) or with you at all times, or mail it to your relative with the important papers.

Everyone should have an emergency kit. You should have one for each person in your family. This way if you have to leave the house suddenly they can each take it with them. Backpacks work well. Each small kit should contain a change of clothing, a couple of pairs of socks and a couple of pairs of underwear. Small blankets and a pillow will be very helpful if they fit and can be carried. These kits should also contain small first aid kits, Ziploc bags, bottled water, food (think granola bars, cans of tuna, dried fruit, etc.) small packs of Kleenex (will double as toilet paper) and anything else essential to that person like medications.

At your home you should also have an emergency kit that you can grab on your way out the door. This will presumably go into your car. A large Rubbermaid type container will work. You should include food, water, toilet paper, clothing, blankets, small pillows, important papers and identification, matches, money (small bills and change) feminine products, medications, first aid kit, can opener, knife and cutting board, flashlight, batteries and radio (or better yet get a hand crank radio/flashlight combo) dust mask, wet wipes, Ziploc bags, work gloves, duct tape, tarp (these are for emergencies shelters) and something to do. If you have kids especially, include books, coloring books, cards, cross word puzzles, magazines, etc. You need something to take people's minds off the emergency at hand and keep everyone calm.

Know where your family members are at all times and have a plan for what to do in an emergency and where to meet in case of one. Keep everyone's phone numbers with you at all times. I have a piece of paper that I have everyone's home and cell numbers written on and it is folded up in my wallet. It only took me a few minutes to put it together, but I have used it several times. An emergency can happen any time, anywhere. Being prepared will allow you to handle it much better. Stay tuned for Part 4, being prepared at home.


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