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Readers Respond: Disaster Preparedness Ideas from Real People

Responses: 10

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Updated October 20, 2008

From the article: Disaster Preparedness
Experts suggest all types of disaster preparedness, but real people don't always work the way experts do. How do you prepare for emergencies? Are you stocked up on disaster supplies, complete with gallons of water and cases of batteries? Or, do you just have a few bucks and an extra can of gas?

Share your disaster preparation and read how others get ready for the next big storm.

Share Your Tips

Program numbers in your cell

I would add: program your ins co (to report damage) water dept (to ask if water is safe) and power co (to report outage) into cell.
—saj810

be prepared

I don't consider myself a survivalist, or prepper but I do believe in being prepared. me and my family have survived through ice storms, and many severe weather events and through them all I learned to be prepared. Some kit is better than no kit. If you do want to dive completely into it, stash nonperishable foods, water, devices for light, warmth, and shelter. I keep a bug out bag in my truck, and a few things at home such as oil lamps, flashlights, quilts, weather radio, and self protection. I plan on adding to that eventually, so everyone in my family can have a 72 hr. bag, and getting a storm shelter. Have a plan, Be Prepared!
—Guest ky coal miner

ID Tag

Have a durable ID tag (like a dog tag) made with your name, any medical conditions or allergies that could affect treatment (such as a latex or penicillin allergy), and the name and phone number of an emergency contact. Have this attached to a lanyard or chain. You should keep tags with your emergency kit and put them on when you go to your shelter. Responders who send your unconscious body to a hospital or find your remains will appreciate this. These can also be useful to wear if you go running or hiking. Tags can be made at WalMart or similar stores for a very reasonable fee.
—Guest Gina

Don't forget fire safety/extinguishers

Fires with hurricanes or flooding happen easier than many realize, due to electrical shorts or alternative lighting. And if you HAVE to use candles, be more careful than usual, because you'll be more distracted by the disaster (like water rising in my house), and might miss your little ones (children or pets) getting too close. I'm very grateful I was on the spot when my cat's tail caught on fire and was able to douse it by dragging his tail in the flood water in my kitchen before it hurt him.
—Guest hurricane.flooding

Surviving a Flood

My sister was driving her little sedan when she came upon flooded water, but didn't know how deep it was. As she drove through it, the front end of her car was doing downwards. She immediately backed her car out to safety. So if you're not sure, back out. If the water is getting deeper, back out before it's too deep. Also, if you see other cars going through with no problem, most likely, it's also safe for you to proceed.
—Guest lllllllllllllll

Tin Foil

I was in Andrew in 1992. The only shelter we had was 1/4 of the under side of the stairs. My Grandfather died two nights after, I had to pull him out and place him under some debris away from we were. When my children got up I told them he had gone for help. See when Andrew hit people were happy Miami only had the wind from Andrew everyone forget about Homestead area. We had horses in trees, livestock, some made it, many did not just like the people in that area. Our Disaster Kit was gone and we had two one up stairs and one down stairs. I did found some tin foil not much about 2 inches in size. You see, if your trapped or jammed in a tree, on top of your home due to flooding, or lost on the ground Ti Foil can help for signaling. So now I tape a small zip bag to me in it I have ID, waterproof matches, and tin foil. I still have a disaster kit in each car, three places in my home, office, and I have tin foil in all of them. Oh!, yes check the best by dates on everything even the water.
—Guest RIF

5 Natural Disaster Survivalist

I've lived through 5 different natural disasters!! I teach emergency prep classes!! Think about your personal eating and meds now and store that! Get the doc to give you a script for 3 months supply. The "big ones" are happening now When the 7.6 earthquake hit in Eagle River, Alaska, there was no electricity to a bank ATM, pharmacy, or gas station; we had huge openings in the roads and the bridges were not safe. After that, the gov't Homeland security head came to our community and told us that we are on our own for at least 3-4 weeks!! You can only depend on yourself! Six things: water, food (survival bread or high energy bars), toilet paper (you can barter with it), mostly-silver coins (paper $ is worthless just like gold and silver bars are worthless when the other guy doesn't know the value). Keep the gas in your car at full or near full; waterproof match container with whistle and compass. A mirror for signaling, space blanket or better.
—LynneMorton

Usually no heat without electricity

There are not many furnaces that can fire without electricity and besides that is only half the problem. There is a fan to distribute warm air throughout your house that requires electricity. If you convince your furnace (which probably has an electronic gas valve) to fire, it will safety off when the temperature gets too high inside the burner. You are better off being prepared to crank up the fireplace and put some sweaters on.
—Guest Joe B

I'd add 2 items to the top 5 & reorder..

I'd reorder to (1) water, (2) shelter, (3) food, & would add (4) sanitation, & (5) communications. I rank shelter above food for several reasons, not the least of which is that a healthy adult can live for 3 weeks without food, but in difficult weather (heat = dehydration, sunburn & heatstroke, cold = hypothermia, etc.) life expectancies can be much less than 3 weeks. I'd add sanitation due to (a) the general risk of disease from unsanitary conditions (dysentery, etc.), and (b) if you find yourself in a situation without sanitation I'd argue that there's also a greater likelihood of infection from any sot of wound. I add communications because it's always important to know what's going on. By communications I mean anything from a small battery-powered transistor radio to a shortwave radio to a full ham radio setup.
—Guest J

Always have an evacuation kit

I think the advice about possibly not needing an evacuation kit should be ignored. In the event of a disaster, you might not have time to gather everything. It's best to have a portable kit that is ready to go at all times.
—Guest anonymous

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