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Emergency Preparedness - What to do ahead of time.

Updated on November 18, 2014

Be Prepared

Natural disasters come in all shapes and sizes from winter storms, hurricanes, tornados, floods, timber fires to earthquakes. All of these things are emergency situations. How we get through them depends on how we have prepared for that emergency.

Emergencies are not scheduled events. In many cases you only have a few moments notice before one occurs. Being prepared increases a person's ability and chances of survival.

In my research I have found useful information on emergency preparedness and some suggestions for items that you may want to include in your emergency/survival pack.

The best emergency supplies are those that are well thought out and on hand when needed. So be prepared to protect your family with good "pre-emergency" preparations.

Photo credit google images creative commom domain.

An Impending Storm - Tune In and Stay Alert

Photo credit NOAA
Photo credit NOAA

Our government has put in place, the "Emergency Broadcast System". You know, that annoying beeping or shrill screeching sound on the radio when they test it periodically. It usually comes on in the middle of your favorite song. But when there is an impending storm or emergency situation, that sound is anything but annoying. It can be a life saver.

After the alarm sounds, you will be given directions on where to tune in or where to go for more info and for your safety. They don't sound this without good reason, so don't blow it off like you are invincible or something. Tune in, take heed, take cover or get out. Whatever directions they give, follow them.

You should have a good radio on hand. One that will operate on batteries should the power go out. Also one with NOAA channels is extremely important in emergency situations. NOAA stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In short they monitor the air, the earth and the sea. (Photo credit: NOAA)

The items that I have selected below are good for short and long

term use.

The hand cranks are extremely vital to long term usage and

some will even re-charge

a cell phone.

Tornado Alley Live says:

"Buy a weather radio - the BEST way to protect your family"

Having a weather radio will help you to stay ahead of severe weather to keep your family safe. By staying informed of the weather changes you can quickly get your family to safety with the items you will need to weather out the storm.

If a severe weather condition is about to hit your area, the NOAA weather-alert radio can alert you or even wake you up so you can get prepared right away.

When you are not prepared. - "Preparedness is the key to surviving the storm itself, and for those days after the storm." (Says Meteorologist Andy Wallace, a fo

This is a video taken during the Joplin F5 Tornado. You will notice that no one was prepared even though the siren was sounded. These individuals were out shopping when the tornado hit and had to gather in the back of the store until all the glass shattered by the force of the wind. They then had to find shelter in the walk in storage refrigerator. They only had a matter of seconds to get into position.Thankfully everyone was alright, but the aftermath was another "storm" they would have to deal with right after the tornado hit.

The visual part of the video is not very good, but listen to the storm and the voices of people saying "I love you" as they faced the unknown.

To read Andy's article on Five Important Lessons visit

NOAA Emergency Alert Radios - Your First Line of Defense...Notification

Hear the warning signals as they are issued. Immediate response can save your life. These are necessary items for your home or office.

I spoke in a church a few years back that was out in the country and couldn't hear tornado sirens that would be sounded in a nearby town should a warning be issued. So they had one of these warning devices hooked up and at the ready should they need it. Good planning!

Today's weather radios come in several different designs, with additional features from which to choose, including: Tabletop or portables, AC with battery backup, or hand-cranked power (no battery or external power source required) or Two-way radio, so you can communicate with a family member or friend in an emergency.

Why Crank Radios?

Crank Radios - For Continued Awareness in an Emergency Situation

Having a crank radio is important when there is no power source.

You can crank the handle on this type radio for power, and it will give you emergency information you need at the time. There is no need for electric or batteries.

Take the Warnings and Information Seriously - Joplin, Missouri May 22, 2011

Photo credit NOAA
Photo credit NOAA

The emergency broadcast system went into alert mode. The tornado sirens sounded. In spite of all the high-tech devices in service, the people of Joplin, Missouri only had 20 minutes advance warning of the devastation that was heading their way. That devastation came in the form of an EF5 Multiple-Vortex Tornado with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour.

Many found their way to shelters and followed the warnings. For whatever reason, still (according to reports) many were caught off guard.

Heed the warnings. Don't take chances with your life and the lives of your family. Use the best emergency facilities and plans at your disposal.

(Photo credit: NOAA)

The Back to Back Blizzards of 2010 - This is a picture of my inlaw's home in New Jersey during a snowstorm.

photo credit by Senditondown
photo credit by Senditondown

In February of 2010, my wife and I were at her parent's in New Jersey. The week we were there a blizzard was predicted.

There was plenty of food in the house and I went to the store to get a couple items that we might need. The stores were just about out of milk and bread. Even meat and canned goods were going fast. I got back in the truck just as the snow started falling heavily.

The first storm left us with 28 inches of snow. Then two days later the second blizzard arrived, dumping an additional 20 inches. Unheard of for that portion of NJ. (It never snowed like that when I was in school!)

Thankfully, we never lost power and had plenty of food and my father-in-law had enough of his medications until the roads were cleared. Finally the state of emergency was lifted allowing us to get on the roads again. It wasn't until 10 days later that we were able to travel safely, and on our trip home we had to make an emergency stop because of another snowstorm that closed the major highways.

We can't count on the stores for last minute emergency preparations. They do their best, but too many people are doing the same thing so shelves get cleared real fast. Advanced planning is the way to go. While others are in the panic of preparation mode, you can go over your plans again and make sure that nothing is overlooked.

Photo credit Senditondown/family.


In case of emergency, FEMA recommends that you have your own

food, water and other supplies

in sufficient quantity to last

for a least 72 hours.

Remember to do this for

each person in your family.

FEMA Ready

FEMA is set up to try to reach people in emergency situations within 72 hours.

However, conditions may dictate otherwise.

So be prepared.

It is better to be overprepared than undersupplied.

Photo credit by royalty free google images
Photo credit by royalty free google images

Canned Food

Canned fruit, vegetables, meats, soup.

Canned foods are a great source for meals in an emergency.  Most can be eaten cold if necessary and all take very little preparation.  Stock up on canned pastas. They are usually a whole meal in a can. And please don't forget to provide for your pets. Even though they may be accustomed to a dry food diet, they will do very nicely in an emergency with good quality canned food.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when storing canned foods of any type.

1. Check the expiration date on all canned foods. Most have the date stamped somewhere on the can. Still others will have a stamped code.

2. If all you have is the code, call the Customer Service Dept. of the manufacturer and give them the code as it appears on the can. They in turn will be able to give you the expiration date.

3. Canned foods set aside for emergency use (or any food that has an expiration date) should be periodically rotated into your regular meals, and replaced with the same item. Put a sign in your food storage area, "ROTATE AND REPLACE" as a reminder to do just that.

4. Not every canned food has a pop top. Make sure that you have one or more of these openers to get your cans opened. The military ones are small enough to fit on a keychain. It sure is better than trying to beat a can open on a rock!

Photo credit google images creative commom domain.

Can Openers - Click on product for details.

OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Can Opener,Black,None
OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Can Opener,Black,None
Have a good non-electric can opener on hand.

Canned foods set aside for emergency use (or any food that has an expiration date) should be periodically rotated into your regular meals, and replaced with the same item.

Put a sign in your food storage area, "ROTATE AND REPLACE" as a reminder to do just that.

Poll: Are You Prepared?

Do you have at least 72 hours worth of food, water and supplies stored up for an emergency?

See results

Drinking water supply systems can quickly become unusable due to power outages, or undrinkable due to contamination by flooding.

Make sure you have plenty of bottled water on hand and these very innovative devices below to provide a continuous supply of fresh drinking water even in adverse conditions.

Water is the most essential emergency supply to have on hand.

Water Purification - Water is the first thing to be contaminated during a storm. Within 24 hours of the tornado in Joplin, officials put out a warning that all

Water that is usually safe to drink often gets contaminated during any natural disaster. There is no getting around it, we need safe water to drink to stay alive.

These products are made to filter out any impurities making your water safe to drink.

If you live in an area where floods are a potential hazard, store your supplies in water tight containers.

Once that is done be sure to secure the containers so that they won't float away should the water get to them.

Don't let all your hard work take off down stream on you!

Waterproof Storage Containers - Click on product for details.

Outdoor Products Large Watertight Box (Clear)
Outdoor Products Large Watertight Box (Clear)
Make sure to have a place to keep things watertight.

Flooding and... - PFD's (Personal Flotation Devices)

Photo credit from royalty free google images
Photo credit from royalty free google images

It may seem unusual to see life jackets (personal flotation devices) among emergency preparedness items designed for dry land. But I started thinking about the floods seen in recent years here in the U.S. In all the news footage, I don't remember seeing one person that was being rescued wearing a life jacket. They were hanging on to trees, debris, each other, but not safety devices.

You make think it strange, and think that I'm weird, but I decided to include them here. It is up to you whether or not you add them to your supplies.

Photo credit google images creative commom domain.

Disaster takes no prisoners.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Outward Hound Kyjen   Designer Pet Saver Life Jacket, Small, Orange
Outward Hound Kyjen Designer Pet Saver Life Jacket, Small, Orange
Let's not forget our pets. Many can swim, but will be much safer with a life vest. This vest comes in a larger size as well.

Life Jackets - Click on photo for details.

Stearns 3000001712 PFD 5311 Cat Adlt Classic Uni Yel
Stearns 3000001712 PFD 5311 Cat Adlt Classic Uni Yel
Keep life jackets for the entire family in a location they can quickly get to the,

Essentials Checklist - Personal Survial List

Before putting everything together, make an essentials check list. You know, the things that you really need and that will make you more comfortable in an emergency situation. Have each person compile their own emergency kit with their individual personal items and then store them in an airtight/waterproof container. Be sure to label each person's packet. Mine would include items like these in this list.

Lights/Lanterns - Click on photo for details.

Energizer Weatheready 3-LED Carabineer Rechargeable Crank Light, Red
Energizer Weatheready 3-LED Carabineer Rechargeable Crank Light, Red
Keep plenty of flashlights that can be recharged on hand for everyone.

Survival Kit Checklist

  1. A Bible
  2. Clean undergarments such as socks and clean underwear.
  3. Hand sanitizer
  4. Toothbrush,toothpaste, mouthwash
  5. Paper products such as: toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates (plastic silverware)
  6. Seal them up in a Zip-Loc bag, and they are ready when you need them.
  7. Water
  8. First Aid Kit and necessary medications
  9. Washcloth or hand towel.
  10. Brush and comb.
  11. Items to clean contact lenses or glasses.
  12. Personal small hand cranked flashlight.

Where do you live?

Do you live in an area that is prone to...

See results

Don't stumble around in the dark! Keep the lights on with these great emergency lighting options.

Tools and Cooking Gear - To Help Keep the Home Fires Burning: Click on photo for details.

photo credit by Amazon
photo credit by Amazon

More Lighting Options - Flashlights, Candles, Matches

Do you have any kind of emergency tools in your home?

See results

Are you tool ready?

Photo credit Amazon
Photo credit Amazon

Be "Extra" Prepared With These First Aid Kits - Click on products for details.

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight .7 Medical First Aid Kit
Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight .7 Medical First Aid Kit
Keep a watertight first aid kit fully stocked and in place for easy access.

Meals Ready to Eat (MRE's)

Rothco Sure Pak Complete Meals (12/Case)
Rothco Sure Pak Complete Meals (12/Case)
Ready made meals in case of emergency.

A Roof Over Your Head - A Warm and Dry Alternative

photo credit by Amazon
photo credit by Amazon

Tents as Emergency Shelters - Shelters for the Time After the Storm

Selecting the Right Size Tent

You have the food, water, first aid kit, radio and other essentials taken care of. Now what if you need a roof over your head?

The practical answer would be a tent. A good camping tent will serve the purpose of getting you out of the weather and under cover until more permanent arrangements can be made.

Shown below are an assortment of tents, sleeping bags and emergency blankets for you to consider for your family's emergency kit.

Product photo by Amazon.

Sleeping Bags - Click on products for details.

Are you a storm survivor?

Photo credit by royalty free google images
Photo credit by royalty free google images

What storm or disaster have you experienced? Please share your story.

See results
Photo credit by FEMA
Photo credit by FEMA

For more information from FEMA

and some closing thoughts.

FEMA and local authorities do their absolute best to deliver help as soon as they can. However, they have no control of the weather or the aftermath of a huge storm.

There may be a time when it takes longer than 72 hours for help to arrive. It is at that time when your family is relying on what you have prepared in advance for them. FEMA is not the first line or front line defense. You are!

So be the good scout that I know you are and be prepared. Put your best emergency supplies together today. May God bless you and your family. (Click on the photo to FEMA)

For more information on FEMA go to:


Tornado Alley Live News Feed -

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I hope your visit was informative and helpful. - Do you have storm information that we could use? Leave a comment.

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Where I live we can get hit by a huge earthquake, obviously with no warning whatsoever. Emergency preparedness is so important, and too few people take it seriously.

    • Dusty2 LM profile image

      Dusty2 LM 

      7 years ago

      Very good advise senditondown! As an outdoors person and camper have everything ready to go in case of emergency. Only had to use it twice due to blizzards that socked us in for a few days. We were snug as a bug in a rug and the youngsters at that time loved it. For those not sure you have provided an excellent lens and list of emergency gear to have ready. Anyway, Thank You for stopping by and giving my How To Make Woven Heart Baskets for Valentine's Day lens a "CupidKiss" as I really appreciate it. Happy Valentines Day! (^_^)

    • LynetteBell profile image


      7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      All good pointers! Having been in the Christchurch earthquakes I'm very well aware. I've also done a lens on survival. I'll add your lens to mine if that's ok:)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Always good to wee what others are doing to prepare for things. I've learned that being prepared for the worst makes enjoying the best that much more enjoyable!

    • profile image

      Svdharma LM 

      8 years ago

      My family has a little but of canned food and water, I don't think we really are prepared enough. Thanks for this great lense.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      8 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      This was very good instructions. Thank you! Angel blessed.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      woh...i like it..

      like back..thank

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      Great information. I believe in keeping the storm box ready on day one of hurricane season. Please excuse me, I just remembered I need to replace some batteries in my emegency kit. Great job on this lens!

    • TTMall profile image


      8 years ago

      It looks very helpful. Thank you very much!

    • profile image

      goo2eyes lm 

      8 years ago

      there was a big deadly tornado recently in the u.s.a and it was scary to see the gray clouds slowly forming into a tornado on tv.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very informative article! Thanks for sharing this!

    • CruiseReady profile image


      8 years ago from East Central Florida

      Hope lots of people see these tips on emergency preparedness, and take them to heart. It's sad to see folks struggling after a disaster, but not being prepared only makes it worse for you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great information, Thanks for sharing.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 

      8 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Nuthin' here in Phoenix but the HEAT! We did have a microburst about 20 years ago that threw a dumpster into a car and blew out my truck windows. That's about it! Nice preparedness lens. Squid Angel blessed and God Bless you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens and important topic, I am just putting one together too. just got this advice in an email from Pillar of Enoch bible study news."10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 'Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, 'Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess.'" Josh 1:10-11 NKJV

      There were three important things to remember in this season:

      1. Face your fears.

      2. Prepare provisions

      3. Realize that the Kingdom of Heaven cannot be shaken.

    • LornsA178 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Great information, very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Great info for emergency preparedness. I dread hurricane season on the Texas Gulf Coast. I have one of those wind up lanterns and love it. It is great for even the occasional storm that knock the lights out for a while and is much safer than candles.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great information here on emergency preparedness. It sure is important to have at least the basics given things can happen anytime.


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