Preparing any type of action plan takes time and research. It involves gathering supplies and task completion. The process can quickly become overwhelming because there are so many angles to examine and details to take care of. This is especially true when putting together a disaster preparedness plan, because plans should include preparations for both sheltering in place and evacuations.
It’s very helpful to remember that a good action plan won’t be cobbled together in a day and taking baby steps to prepare your plan is way better than not doing anything. Quite a few disaster preparedness guides take the “12 months to preparedness” approach, with a different activity offered each month for a year. When the year is over, participants have a serviceable plan in place. Adopting this approach makes the process so much more manageable, time-wise, cost-wise and emotionally.
One hour of disaster preparedness activity a month helps you be ready for disasters — whenever they occur
~Prepare in a Year, WA State EMD
Here are two 12 month plans to get you started on your way to being prepared for a disaster.
- City of Mercer Island Family Emergency Preparedness Plan
- Washington Military Dept Emergency Management Division’s Prepare in a Year Website (includes how-to videos) and Prepare in a Year Booklet
Food and water, basic life-sustaining needs, are good areas to look at first when putting an action plan together. For water supplies, the general concensious in preparedness guides is 1 gallon per person, per day. Saving good quality, food grade plastic bottles (soda or juice bottles) for water storage is a practical way to start an emergency water storage. Directions for cleaning the bottles and storing water for an emergency are consistent in the guides linked above. It’s a good idea to keep a bottle of household bleach (The only active ingredient in the bleach should be 6.00% sodium hypochlorite) with an emergency water supply and a set of measuring spoons, for treating water of questionable quality. According to the EMD, the Canned Food Alliance recommends a minimium of 2 cans of food, per day, for each person in a household. The EMD offers a chart of suggested foods for an emergency pantry. By picking up an extra 2 cans of food per shopping trip, to be stored for an emergency, a pantry can be built affordably and steadily over the course of 12 months. Make sure the food is something your family enjoys to eat, so the food can be rotated on a regular basis, and it will be palatable during an emergency.
Have you started an emergency pantry? What spots in the home are convenient to access and a good place to keep extra pantry items?