Preparedness Plan Basics

Preparedness Basics

Start With a Communications Plan

The initial component of preparedness is a communication plan. Whether it’s between your family, friends, or others in your community you share your preparedness planning with – communications is key when disaster strikes.

Below is a checklist – it’s not the end all list for your communications plan – but it’s a start.  

  • Establish a communications plan with those included in your preparedness planning – family, friends and/or work place – If your work place doesn’t have a plan – click here – be the impetus to create one.
  • Set up a phone, text and email tree for alerting those in the network
  • Identify at least two contacts that are out of your area and if possible out of state to use as “information clearing centers” for others in your network during an emergency – these are contacts who will provide information about your well-being if the chain in the network is broken.
  • Define your communication methods in order of preference: phone, email, text or Skype type app.  Hint: A text will almost always go through even if cell phone calls won’t
  • Establish a meeting point near your home, church, office etc.  If communications are down – network members can meet there.  A meeting point can be as simple as a tree in front of a certain house, a power pole at an intersection, a parking lot etc.
  • Always have pen and paper with you – in your car, purse, Go-Bag etc.  If you can’t wait at the meeting point, you can leave a note tacked/attached on-site with instructions of how and when to try and reestablish contact
  • Don’t disappear! If you shelter in place, go to a shelter, or evacuate – make sure everyone in your network is in the loop and knows where the others are located
  • If you’re in immediate danger send a group text and move from the area.  Include a time frame in your text for when you’ll try to re-establish contact with your network.  Don’t get caught up in phone calls and text strings
Prepare Your Home & Vehicle
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

Securing your home in advance of a storm, or disaster is essential to preparedness.  Take the time to do an annual home inspection and prepare everything before the worst happens.  Some of the things you find during an inspection may not be an easy fix or require a contractor – get them done before the winds change or waters rise.

Roof Condition
  • Verify its condition. Mark, repair or replace loose shingles or tiles
  • Repair any leaks
  • Do they close securely?
  • Do the locks work?
  • If you live in a hurricane or storm prone areas invest in window protection such as storm panels or impact windows – if neither of those are an option – consider cutting, fitting and storing 5/8” plywood panels for your windows and doors
Exterior doors
  • Make sure the locks work on all doors including screen doors
  • Reinforce your garage door with a hurricane kit – consider this even if you don’t live in a hurricane zone
  • Secure entry door hinges with long screws, tapcons or extra deadbolt locks
  • Secure / brace French doors
  • If you live in flood prone areas, store empty sandbags you can fill if needed
Electrical and plumbing systems
  • Have your electrical panel inspected annually by a licensed electrician
  • Know how to turn off the electricity to your home via the main switch in the main panel
  • Know where the main water disconnect is located on your home
  • Have trees trimmed away from power poles, and power lines by the power company
Termites, wood destroying organisms, or rot
  • Have your home inspected for termites, WDO and other rot
  • Replace or reinforce weakened wood
  • Secure or store your bar-b-que grills
  • Prepare/chemically treat your pool – it may become a source of water after a disaster, although it may not be potable water
  • Secure or store lawn furniture, hoses and lawn watering equipment
  • Secure outside storage
  • Trim back surrounding trees and bushes
Maintain/prepare your vehicle  

Preventative maintenance is a must so make sure you get your oil changed and fluids leveled off regularly and keep a container of “just in case” items in your vehicle:

  • Tire plug kits, a mini-compressor and Fix-A-Flat
  • Hose clamps, extra radiator hoses, container of antifreeze
  • A couple extra quarts of oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, windshield washer fluid
  • Extra gas cans
Home Preparedness & Go-Bag Essentials
“Daddy always seemed to be preparing for rainy days. Maybe that’s why they never came.”– Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Many of the supplies you need for a Home Preparedness Kit and Go-Bag are probably already in your home. 

Store them in a closet or other location in your home that is not likely to be damaged, flooded and/or destroyed.  Consider splitting your Home Preparedness items in two different locations in your house or apartment.  That way if a portion of your living quarters is destroyed, you may have access to the other location. 

The first item in any home preparedness kit should be a primary First Aid Kit – it’s the one thing you’ll use the most in daily life so the contents will most likely be fresh when a disaster strikes.

Let’s start with the container – consider a bag specifically designed for first aid supplies or a fishing tackle box with fold out trays.

First Aid Kit
Everyone of age should be certified in first aid & CPR and consider taking a Stop the Bleed course
  • Plastic or latex examination gloves
  • Tongue depressors, a pen light and/or LED head lamp
  • One pair of each: surgical scissors, surgical forceps, hemostats, tweezers
  • Surgical masks, N95 masks, CPR mask
  • Emergency rescue blanket
  • Skin stapler – talk to your doctor about use
  • Hemostatic agents – QuikClot or Celox and styptic swabs
  • An assortment of adhesive bandages (Band-Aids) – include knuckles, finger tips, streri-strips/butterfly bandages
  • 2”X2” & 4”X4” sterile gauze dressings
  • A couple of sterile & absorbent feminine hygiene products (Kotex/Maxi-Pads)
  • Roll of gauze, adhesive tape, self-adherent wrap, ace bandage
  • Offset bandage compress, triangular bandage, safety pins
  • Ankle brace, knee brace, finger splint, SAM splint, eye wash/eye cup
  • Antibiotic ointment, germ shield, New Skin liquid bandage, drawing salve
  • OTC Analgesics, stomach meds (Pepto, Gas-X, Immodium, fiber pills)
  • Stop The Bleed Kit – requires extra training
  • Tourniquets
  • Pressure Trauma Bandage (Israeli bandage)
  • Compressed gauze
  • More QuikClot or Celox
Home Preparedness Kit
Most of these items are already in your home. Consider storing extras “just in case” so you’re not waiting in-line when a disaster presents itself
  • A supply of your daily medicines – it’s legal in most states for doctors to prescribe up to ninety days of medicines needed for daily use
  • Coolers for food, drinks, and ice
  • Disposable plates, cups, and eating utensils
  • Manual can openers (several) and/or P-38 military type can openers
  • Sealable storage bags, plastic food storage containers
  • Cleaning wipes/reusable towels/ paper towels/aluminum foil/plastic wrap
  • Kitchen knives/kitchen scissors/surgical scissors – not the pair from your first aid kit
  • A camper’s coffee pot/percolator – gotta have coffee and it’ll boil water, too
  • Cooking utensils, including a barbecue set
  • Charcoal grill/propane grill/camp stove & fuel/canned heat (Sterno)
  • Fire starting kit, wet/dry matches, grill length lighters, magnesium fire starter, cubes, bars, tinder
  • Standard garbage bags and contractor bags for clean-up
  • Carbon monoxide / smoke detectors / handheld fire extinguishers
  • Toiletries/Toilet paper
  • Inflatable beds/or cots/ sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, sheets
  • Regular unscented bleach
  • Buckets (Five gallon/one gallon)
  • Tarps – in case the roof leaks – in Florida, blue seems to be the color choice
  • Rain coats, ponchos, or rain suits
  • Insect repellent, sun block
  • Extra cell phone chargers, car chargers, external smart phone batteries
  • A dual powered solar/battery-operated radio – with NOAA weather access
  • Extra batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, CR 2032, etc.)
  • A two-way radio set or walkie-talkie set for car-to-car communications should you have to evacuate
Optional Items
  • Camping Gear/tents/portable shade rooms (such as those used at craft fairs)
  • Portable generator for the home with extra fuel
  • Fuel stabilizer for any fuel supplies
  • Extension cords and extra electrical box outlets
  • Chainsaw
Some of us are handier around the house than others, choose what you know how to use
  • Assorted hand tools – hammer, screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches, pliers, vise grips, battery powered screw gun etc.     
  • An assortment of nails, screws and fasteners
  • Nails and large round washers (for temporary roof repair)
  • Vinyl or plastic tarps, a roll of visqueen
  • At least two rolls of duct tape
  • Shovel, axe, or machete
  • Eye protection such as goggles or safety glasses
  • 100 feet of 1/2” rope/paracord/bungee cords
  • N95 dust masks
  • Work gloves
What’s a Go-Bag?

A backpack, duffle bag or carry-on sized luggage bag specifically packed for each member of the family to bring to a hotel, community shelter, a friend or relative’s home.

It carries the basics – what you might take to an emergency shelter
Reminder: In a disaster, phones and tech may not work – old school is reliable when tech is not.
  • Spare sets of house keys and car keys
  • A supply of your daily medicines
  • A toiletries kit – everything you need for personal hygiene including toilet paper
  • A change of clothes
  • Extra pair of sneakers – closed toe shoes preferred
  • Personal wipes/baby wipes
  • Sunglasses, an extra pair of glasses or contacts with travel size solutions
  • Personal first aid kit & Stop the Bleed Kit
  • Cell phone charger/wired earphones
  • Battery operated flashlight/extra batteries
  • Packaged snacks (protein or granola bars, nuts, raisins)
  • A stainless steel water bottle/thermos or filtered water bottle
  • A personal water filter, filter straw and water purification tablets
  • MREs or other emergency ration, dried fruits, jerky, snacks
  • A micro-fiber or small blanket/travel pillow
  • Rain poncho, insect repellent, sun block
Items to keep on your person
  • Cash; small bills, ones, five and ten dollar denominations
  • Credit cards and debit cards
  • An updated Living Will or Final Will**
  • Birth certificates, identification, passport, bank account info**
**Back up these items by scanning them to a memory stick before a disaster

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