It's been a crazy year. The COVID-19 crisis has devastated almost every aspect and sector of society. Political tensions have been high, and we see the worst recession in nearly a century. Climate change is still warming up the planet and acidifying the oceans.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that none of us can be truly prepared for what crises can hit at a global level. Now more than ever, we need to have a certain level of disaster preparedness if we want to protect ourselves and our families. It's not about being survivalist, because that kind of mindset can be harmful to yourself and others when taken to an extreme. It's about being realistically and adequately prepared for the worst that could happen in the world. Knowing that you have a certain level of preparedness can help you sleep better at night.
Whether it's natural calamities like an earthquake and extreme flooding or pandemic-related crises like mandatory lockdowns, it can't hurt to be ready for any possible worst-case scenario. Here are some tips for disaster preparedness that you can immediately apply to your household.
Stock up on necessary survival items.
Gather enough supplies that can last you and your family for a month. Here is a basic list of essential items you may need:
- Gallons of drinking water
- Canned and vacuum-sealed goods
- Frozen fruits and vegetables
- Pillows and blankets
- Clothes that are climate-appropriate
Check your home's structural integrity.
Do a thorough walk-through of your house and check for the following:
- Water stains
- Cracks in the walls and driveways
- Uneven surfaces
- Walls or doorways that aren't standing upright
Make a mental note of anything that doesn't seem quite right and hire a home maintenance expert to double-check your home. They are experts for a reason; they're able to see problems laypeople may not necessarily be able to, and they know how to spot irregularities that may be a symptom of bigger problems. One of the crucial steps to being prepared for any disaster is making sure your home is foolproof and safe.
Make sure the inside of your home is adequately equipped.
Here are some tips for equipping your home with the necessary tools in case of a power outage:
- Ensure that your home is equipped with alternative power sources in case electricity gets cut off. Consider purchasing small and portable gasoline-powered electrical generators.
- Install a wall-mounted LED emergency light in your living room, garage, and upstairs corridors.
- Equip your home with portable heaters to keep your home sufficiently warm. Choose a portable heating unit that's not prone to causing fires.
- Buy heavy-duty portable chargers for every member of the family so you can charge your phones and other devices at any given time.
Build go-bags for every family member.
A “go-bag” is literally as its name suggests—it's a bag filled with essentials that you can grab in case you and your family need to leave your home as soon as possible. A go-bag is suitable for people who live in areas usually devastated by natural calamities like wildfires, flooding, or earthquakes.
Choose a heavy-duty duffel bag or backpack that can withstand the elements or be carelessly dragged around. A well-stocked go-bag must have the following:
- Enough drinking water to last for three days
- Change of clothes for three days
- Canned and vacuum-sealed goods
- Protein bars
- 2-in-1 soap and shampoo
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- A couple of rolls of toilet paper
- Sanitary napkins or tampons for female family members
- Diapers for babies, if any
- Emergency radio
- Swiss army knife
- Matches or lighter
- Sleeping bags
- Antibacterial soap
- Rubbing alcohol
- Your pet's essentials
Prepare a first aid kit.
It is something you should have in your house anyway, whether the world is ending or not. Make sure you have at least one kit in your home and one kit in your car. A basic first aid kit must have the following items:
- Adhesive bandages of different sizes and shapes
- Gauze dressings that come in small, medium, and large
- Safety pins
- Disposable gloves
- Sticky tape
- Digital thermometer
- Cleansing wipes that have no alcohol content
- Skin rash cream
- Aloe vera for soothing burns or mosquito bites
- Anti-allergy pills
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Cough medicine
- Eye drops
- Minty counter-irritant
Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail
Human beings are wired for survival. It's how our species managed to survive for millennia and even beyond that. We need to harness this wiring to prepare for the worst, while still hoping for the best and living our day-to-day lives as best as we can. Our safety and that of our family depend on it.