Part of being a good first responder for your family is to anticipate situations that you may have to address and ensure that you have the tools and knowledge to prevail in an emergency. There are two different scenarios: (1) Prepare to Bug Out, and (2) Prepare to Shelter In. This article discusses how you can be prepared to hunker down with your family when you need to shelter in place.
Stock Your Pantry
Fill your pantry with enough nonperishable foods to last for a few weeks. Dried food such as pasta, grains, and legumes that have a long shelf-life and offer versatility for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chicken or vegetable stock, as well as bone broth, provide a delicious base for homemade soups, stews, and risotto. Canned goods, such as beans, whole peeled tomatoes, soup, and evaporated milk; hot and cold cereal; and frozen fruits and vegetables are used to fill many recipes. Use a vacuum sealer so that your frozen foods can be preserved longer and taste fresher.
Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for three days for drinking and sanitation. Be sure to keep in mind all of your family’s individual dietary needs, and include baby food or pet food, too.
Prioritize Your Health
If you take daily medications, for example, blood pressure pills, make sure you have enough to last a couple of weeks if you can get approval for an extended supply from your insurance provider. Have a supply of non-prescription medications, such as pain relievers and other commonly used remedies. Don’t forget personal hygiene products, toiletries, and other pharmacy products, such as contact lens solution.
In the case of the coronavirus pandemic, keep a supply of fever reducer and over-the-counter remedies that can alleviate flu-like symptoms. Consider a humidifier and have extra boxes of tissues stored away.
Turn a duffle bag into an emergency kit that houses items that you may need during a crisis. This could include a communication devices, NOAA Weather Radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, trash bags, and more. You could also purchase a generator, extra blankets, and other supplies. FEMA offers an Emergency Supply List and the Red Cross has a Shelter Supplies List for reference.
The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the need to be prepared with cleaning supplies. According to research, 65% of cold-causing bacteria are transmitted through household items. Keep your home germ-free by making sure that you have a full supply of disinfectant wipes, hand soap, and hand sanitizer. The CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash your clothes often, including towels and bedding. Disinfect commonly touched items, such as electronic devices, doorknobs, light switches, and appliances. Understand the importance of contact times so that you can be confident that your household surfaces are actually clean. Wiping a surface too soon may negate the ability of the product to eliminate germs.
Organize Your Finances
According to a study by Bankrate, nearly 3 in 10 adults have no emergency savings whatsoever. A good rule of thumb is to try to save $1,000 immediately, then build up to having at least three to six months’ worth of your current expenses saved up. Keep some cash on hand, and make sure that cash in the bank is in an insured account and that your deposit does not exceed the maximum coverage. Check your home and vehicle insurance policies to determine how you’re covered, primarily to make sure there aren’t any gaps in coverage. Organize a waterproof, fireproof box that contains copies of important documents you might need during and after a disaster. Bankrate has a handy list of documents to gather when you’re preparing your finances.
Consider Your Personal Safety
Identify tools around you that will be used for self-defense. Have several options on-hand that you can use depending on your needs in any situation.
If you are planning to use a firearm as a self-defense tool, clean and inspect your firearms that they are in good working condition. Keep them stored in a secure location so that unauthorized people, including children, cannot access them. Keep a supply of defensive ammunition in the calibers that you need. Make sure that you are compliant with the laws of your state.
Stock up on items that you will need, and then do a regular rotation of products and supplies every month. If you hoard supplies, they may go bad, so keep a responsible stash and check expiration dates regularly.