Do you have a plan for weather, or civil emergencies?

If you do not already have a bug-out plan, you should set aside some time to make one. This is something I review with my family 4 times a year. Usually, on a slow Saturday afternoon, we sit down as a family to refresh our emergency plans. No, this does not have to be the prepper nightmare of a complete economic and social collapse.  We review everything from fire, and tornadoes, to early school closures due to weather to an alert issued by one of the two area nuclear reactors. 

The following is an example of a review of a plan for a fire while everyone is at work/school:
  • Are important documents in a fireproof container?
  • Do we have an emergency back up for important medication?
  • Will we have access to Cash/Credit on hand until we are able to settle with the insurance company?
  • Do we have enough insurance to cover all of the things in our home or outbuildings? 
  • Will we need to have someone to remain onsite to protect the home, or will we place unaffected valuables in storage?
  • What information will we need to provide to the insurance company in order to make a claim?
  • What about pets? if they survive, we will need a list of kennels, pet approved hotels, or friends and family able to take them in. 
This is a list that can apply to multiple emergency situations, but as long as you have an outline of a plan, you are ready to deal with any emergency. As we would run through this, we look at options if this happens at night, if, (for each family member), you are home alone, and so on. This can be more fun than just the doom and gloom of the ultimate nightmare scenario. The idea is to get the family thinking and make sure everyone is on the same page when an emergency happens. The following is an example of an emergency evacuation, with one partner a or near home and the other is at work:
  • The person off work, or near home will grab the bugout bag, camping supplies,  pets, any active prescriptions.
  • Pick up kids from school/friends.
  • Send a text confirming that they are headed to one of our designated meeting points and to not go home. (SMS messages are more dependable than cell service during an emergency).
  • The person at work will book a place to stay beyond the meeting point, confirm the route they plan to take, and provided an estimate of travel time.  
The idea is to have an outline, so you do not have 2 people headed out of town, while one remains in harm's way, or everyone heading towards the house when you need to be getting out of the area. Some of this will require planning, dependable communication, and responsive family members who understand that if they receive a call or text regarding X, that they need to move.

Bugout Bag

So you now have a plan and designated meeting points depending on the emergency, what do you take with you?

For us, as mentioned in the first example list, we keep a bugout bag. This is a catchall for any type of bag packed for emergencies. Typically a backpack or duffle with survival or camping supplies, designed to
 be carried on your back for extended periods. 

Although a lot of companies are selling ready-made kits, they are a good start but do not include everything you will need. You may need prescriptions drugs, important documents, identification, cash, and cash equivalents, It is a good idea to make copies of everyone's ID, and all important documents. With more and more companies only providing documents online or by email, start printing hard copies of things like your home or auto insurance policies. This is especially important during incidents of looting or martial law. While planning, it is also a good idea to understand what is or isn't covered and to adjust coverages based on your location. 

So what's in the bag?
  • Originals or physical copies of:
    • Genealogy Records
    • Patriarchal Blessing
    • Legal Documents (Birth/Marriage Certificates, Wills, Passports, Contracts, etc)
    • Vaccination Papers
    • Insurance Policies
    • Cash
    • Cash Equivalents (items for barter)
    • Credit Card
Yes, everyone thinks of a driver's license, but what about underage kids. Take time now to get an ID card through the local DMV for your young children.  Keep in mind, just as this happens at our southern border, it will happen during an emergency. People will attempt to use children to get the first crack at evacuations or special government assistance. You could be forcibly separated from any underage individual you cannot confirm is your child. 
  • Clothing: 
    • You need durable, lightweight clothing like tactical pants; which are lightweight, durable, and easy to wash and dry by hand. Just a couple of items for each person. Pack as if you're going backcountry camping.
  • Food:
    • A 3-day supply of non-perishable food for each person.
    • This could be high-calorie energy bars, ensure, or a case of ramen noodles; even on a budget, you should be able to ave a ready-to-go supply of food. 
    • Powdered foods like Milk, Eggs or proten mixes.
  • Shelter
    • This will depend on your location, and the nature of your emergency

Sheltering in place

After 2020, we should all have experience with sheltering in place, but what if you are forced to stay put, due to the severity of civil unrest? At this point, grab a pen and paper and do an inventory of the home and have everyone participate. Look for candles, flashlights, matches, and lighters. The first time we did this, our son added a hand-cracked radio/flashlight, solar-powered lamp, a nightlight with 4 hours of continuous emergency light, and a few old cell phones we gave to him for gaming. We now keep those phones charged as back up flashlights. We also inventory food. 

So you have these items, but you need to make sure these things are working, and everyone knows how to find them. We then inventory the total number of meals we can make from nonperishable foods in the home.  The last time we checked, we could make one large or two small meals a day, per person for 3 months. Once we add perishable items, including food in the freezer, we can go another month. So if something happens today, we could go 4 months on food, but we only have a week's worth of water on hand. We live a near freshwater source, have emergency water filters, and iodine so this is not as big a priority as food for us, but if it is for you, it may help to have a simple plan.

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