Preparedness Basics in 52 Weeks
Many people are reluctant to prepare for disasters and emergencies because they don’t know how or where to begin. This suggested one year plan can help you and your family get started with the basics. No amount of planning and gathering supplies can prepare you for every possible event, but the more you are prepared, the more you will increase you and your family’s ability to survive potential emergencies with dignity and comfort.
- Download and print the Preparedness Basics in 52 Weeks brochure to use as a checklist. Post it somewhere in your home where it can be a reminder of your goal to "be ready".
- Do one bulleted action item per week. Click on the webpage links for more information.
- There is no particular order. If you need to shuffle the list to meet your own needs, do so.
- Make these preparations a priority. If you get behind, do not give up. The important thing is that you keep working at it. You CAN do this!
- BONUS: Invite others to join you in this activity. Challenge each other to finish by the end of one year. Make it a contest!
Learn About Making a Plan
- Learn the potential hazards in your area.
- Learn and practice the protective actions for each hazard in your area.
- Make a plan with family and household. Do a tabletop exercise and play "What if..." with the possible hazards in your area. Make plans for different seasons, different days of the week, and different times of the day.
- Plan two family emergency meeting places. One close to home in the event of a house fire and the other outside the neighborhood in case of evacuation. As a family, walk to both meeting places.
- Create an evacuation plan including a prioritized grab list and a prioritized “to do” list.
- Learn about emergency plans for work, school, church, daycare, and wherever you spend time in your community. Volunteer to be an active part in the plans. If there is no plan, volunteer to put one together.
Learn About Getting a Kit
- Get a backpack for each household member to be their disaster supply kit.
Learn About Shelter, Clothing and Fire
- Add sheltering items like waterproof ponchos and reflective blankets to disaster supply kits.
- Add fleece blankets or sleeping bags to disaster supply kits.
- Add clothing items like long sleeve shirts and long pants to disaster supply kits.
- Add underclothing, socks, and hats to disaster supply kits.
- Add waterproof matches in a waterproof plastic bag to disaster supply kits. We suggest also adding two or three other ways of starting a fire like a lighter, magnesium and steel, or a magnifying lens as well.
Learn About Water Storage and Water Treatment
- Add one gallon of drinking water to disaster supply kits.
- Add a small water filter to disaster supply kits.
- Add water purification tablets to disaster supply kits.
- Secure your water heater to the wall studs with earthquake straps.
Learn About Food Storage and Nutrition
- Add 3 to 5 days of ready-to-eat, simple to prepare, non-perishable food to disaster supply kits.
Learn About Communication
- Designate an out-of-state emergency contact.
- Keep emergency contact information in wallet, purse, vehicles, at work, in school backpacks, and in disaster supply kits.
- Add a multi-power, AM/FM, NOAA weather alert radio to disaster supply kits.
- Add a notepad, pencil, and whistle to disaster supply kits.
- Add an extra mobile phone charger to disaster supply kits.
Learn About First Aid
- Add a basic first aid kit to disaster supply kits.
- Add a pocket sized first aid instruction booklet to disaster supply kits.
- Add a small sewing kit, insect repellent, and sunblock to disaster supply kits.
- Sign up for a first aid/CPR class.
- Add an N-95 mask and small bottle of hand sanitizer to disaster supply kits.
Learn About Safety and Security
- Add work gloves to disaster supply kits.
- Add spare house and car keys to disaster supply kits.
- Install smoke detectors on each floor of your home and outside the bedrooms.
- Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors on each floor of your home and outside the bedrooms.
- Keep a gas wrench next to your home gas meter and learn how to safely shut off the gas, water, and electricity. Teach household members.
Learn About Cooking
- Add a camp cup, utensils, and can opener to disaster supply kits.
- Add a lightweight stove and fuel to disaster supply kits.
Learn About Hygiene and Sanitation
- Get a five gallon bucket with a snap-on toilet seat lid for an emergency potty.
- Add hygiene items like soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, wash cloth, etc. to disaster supply kits.
- Add sanitation items like toilet tissue, feminine products, baby wipes, etc. to disaster supply kits.
Learn About Important Documents and Money
- Make a written and photographed inventory of appliances, furniture, valuables, and other items in your home for insurance purposes.
- Add printed copies of important documents in a 4x6 photo album to disaster supply kits.
- Add digital copies of important documents on an encrypted flash drive to disaster supply kits.
- Add 5 days worth of cash in small bills for fuel, food, lodging, etc. to disaster supply kits.
- Continue to add 5 days worth of cash in small bills for fuel, food, lodging, etc. to disaster supply kits.
Learn About Light and Power
- Store flashlights and a pair of shoes next to each bed.
- Add flashlights and batteries to disaster supply kits. Store batteries in original container.
- Add chemical light sticks to disaster supply kits.
Learn About Tools and Personal Items
- Add a pocket knife and sharpener to disaster supply kits. Learn how to safely use them.
- Add personal items like glasses, contacts, personal medications, sleep aids, hearing aid batteries, etc. to disaster supply kits.
- Add comfort items like a book, playing cards, religious items, etc. to disaster supply kits.
Learn About Transportation and Navigation
- Learn how to change a flat tire on a car.
- Learn how to jump start a dead car battery, and other simple vehicle repairs.
- Add a compass and local maps to disaster supply kits. Learn how to use them.
- Add comfortable and sturdy walking shoes or boots to disaster supply kits.
Be Ready Family: Make a Plan
When family members know what to do and how to do it, you will all "be ready" to handle any emergency.