When we have a baby, we pack our diaper bag with extra diapers, wipes, 2-3 outfits to replace the ones that will surely get soiled. We carefully chose medications for teething, gas drops, and sunscreen. Add in some toys to ward off boredom, snacks for the inevitable hunger (both yours and baby’s), and enough formula for a weeklong trip…all just in case.
But how prepared are you in your home?
I know, you live just around the corner from a 24-hour grocery store, the pharmacy is close by, and a dollar store conveniently sits on every corner, but if none of those were available, just how prepared are you for the inevitable?
Here are some things to think about as you decide what being prepared for, in a true state of emergency, looks like in your home.
How many people depend on you to care for them?
If it is just you and another adult, you have more freedom to keep a small stock of needed items than if you have a few kids and pets that depend on you. The recent formula shortage is a wake-up call to parents of infants that you cannot keep a single can on hand and expect more to be available when you need it.
What storage space do you have?
Pantry space, freezer space, room in the garage are all areas that you need to think about. It makes no sense to buy large amounts of can goods if your only place to store them is on your dining room table.
What items would be most important if you could not get to the grocery store?
In our area anytime the weatherman says we will have an ice storm, the shelves immediately clear out of bread, eggs, and milk. It has become so laughable that people make memes about it being “French toast weather”. However, for my family if we could not get out of the house for whatever reason, easy to cook foods, prescription medications, and even a few comfort foods would be what I want on hand. What would be your choice items?
Do you have access to clean water if the city has to turn off your water for a day? What about for a few days?
Often after storms or water main breaks, the local water municipalities have to interrupt service. In emergencies, water bottles are the first thing to go flying off the shelves. Where will you get water and if you must use water from an outside source, how will you be sure it is safe to drink?
What about preparing your car?
Do you frequently let your car get lower than ½ a tank of gas? Do you maintain and keep air in your tires? Do you have a spare tire and a jack on your vehicle? Do you carry necessary supplies incase you get stuck in your car for a little while? In Florida, often when they evacuate for hurricanes people sit on the freeways gridlocked for long periods of time. These things can and do happen! At the minimum, you need to carry water and some small food items. Tuck a blanket in the trunk for cold weather. Have a tool kit with basic tools, flashlight, extra fuses, and jumper cables. As a mom, I have long carried a roll of trash bags, a trash can, hand sanitizer, small plastic cups, and a change of underwear / big t-shirt for my small children. When I had a baby, I also carried spare diapers and wipes for small emergencies.
With all this talk about being prepared for emergencies, do you think I am suggesting that you go all out becoming a major prepper who clears the store shelves of hand sanitizer and toilet papers? No, I am not!
Instead, I am suggesting that you have a safety plan in place for your family, your home, and your lifestyle. It will look different for every family and that’s okay, but no longer can you believe “It will never happen here”—history clearly shows that it does and will continue to happen, the question is when?
F.E.M.A. has a great resource available to help you plan at:
There are even resources to help your kids join in the planning. Look under the Ready Kids! tab of the site.