This subject is divided up into four sections:
General Preparations will be covered on this page. There are links above to the other pages.
- General Survival Preparedness - General steps to take for survival and preparedness.
- Home Shelter - being safe at home, including "shelter-in-place".
- Evacuation Survival Kit - in case you have to leave your home suddenly.
- Home Survival Kit and Preparations - also known as a 72 hour survival kit, it includes water, food, first aid supplies, personal items, equipment and sanitation.
General Survival Preparedness
In an emergency or disaster, it is usually estimated that it can take up to 3 days, or 72 hours, for emergency personnel to get to you or for normal utility services to be restored. Therefore, it is recommended that you be prepared to survive for a minimum of 3 days in your home. Some disasters can last a lot longer, so the more prepared you are, the more peace of mind you will have.
You can save a lot of time and trouble during an emergency if you are in step, and not out of step, with local authorities. They already have an emergency action plan in place, and will be implementing it during a disaster. If you are familiar with it, it will be easier to take advantage of the help that they can provide. It will give you a better idea of where to go before the crowds get there, like evacuation routes for example.
The best way to be prepared is personal involvement and training. Knowledge backed by skills and experience can save lives. Many communities have Citizen Emergency Response Teams (CERT) or similar programs where you can learn to be a citizen "1st responder", sometimes for free. You can also get emergency response training from the Red Cross. If you are a part of a social, religious or other type of community, you can get each age group involved in a different government or community training or education program. Then they can educate others in your community to help cultivate the preparedness consciousness, which is preventative.
Here are some points to help you with survival preparedness:
(In the e-book, all the lists have tick boxes on printable pages so you can tick off the items once completed.)
- Discuss with your family the need to be prepared for emergencies.
- Get a floor plan of your house and discuss with your family which 2 escape routes from each room you will use if you need to evacuate immediately, as in a fire.
- Discuss how you will communicate and meet if separated, including a meeting place outside and one further away, preferably with relatives.
- Choose a friend or relative that all family members will call if separated.
- Make sure you know how to turn off the main water, gas and electricity supplies in your home. (Important: If ever you turn off the gas to your home, NEVER attempt to restore it yourself. Get your gas company to do it.)
- Keep some cash at home in a place you can easily access in case of an emergency evacuation.
- Keep important family documents like passports, etc. in a waterproof and fireproof place. It is also good to scan your documents and wallet cards into an electronic document, like a pdf file, and then password protect it and store it in an online e-mail account that you can access from any computer.
- Make additional plans for family members with special needs or for pets.
- Make travel and/or evacuation survival kits for your family. (See below for details.)
- Prepare your home survival kit. (See the Home Survival Kit and Preparations page for details.)
Here are some more resources for survival preparedness:
Survival preparedness by FEMA - The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Survival preparedness by 72hours.org - Based in San Francisco, this site gives information on preparing for almost any disaster.
There are also more resources on the Survival Resources page.