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Organized for an Emergency – How to Get Prepared

by Victoria Gazeley

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With all the natural (and not so natural) disasters dominating the news, blogs, and social media, it’s no wonder people are starting to get a little antsy. But you can be prepared for most emergencies by being organized.

And it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Today, we welcome Elvie Look of elviesessentials.com to Modern Homesteading.  Elvie lives in the rugged Canadian north, and is no stranger to power outages, intense weather and other emergencies.  She’s also what I call the ‘organization maven’.  I thought I was organized when it comes to the house, but Elvie’s skills at home organizing are nothing short of awe-inspiring!  I’ve learned a lot from her the last few months, so I thought I’d have her share some thoughts around being organized in an emergency.

I hope you get a lot out of this post.  And don’t forget to let us know in the comments below if we’ve missed anything for the emergency pack list.

Victoria Signature

 

 

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Elvie Look

It’s distressing to watch the news these days and witness people dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes, mud slides, flooding or tsunamis.  But then we turn off the TV and carry on with our lives as normal.

We feel pretty safe because of where we live.  I live in northern BC Canada … the worst that could happen here is frost bite in the winter or a few mosquito bites in the summer.  I am not in a high risk area.

But, I take warnings and recommendations seriously.  I always have.  I remember being on the 25th floor of a hotel when a fire alarm went off during the night.  Ken and I were obediently going down the stairwell, and we never saw a soul until about the sixth floor.

Perhaps one reason for being emergency-conscious is because I had to be prepared ever since Ken’s first heart attack.  Since then, he has had several cardiac arrests, and they tend to happen in the middle of the night.  We have had to drop everything and be ready for air ambulance out to a major center.  Sometimes we would be away a month at a time.

Could you be prepared to leave immediately (be packed up in ten minutes) and have things in order so that while you are away, your house is looked after, your children, your pets, your bills?  I have even had to leave when we had a house full of company and supper in the oven.

Elvie and Ken's Bug Out 'To Go' BagsSo, when our Provincial Department of Health issued a strong recommendation that households plan for evacuation by assembling a “Go To” bag, Ken and I promptly did it.  Here’s the recommended kit list.

These are our “Go To” Bags which we keep in the front hall closet. These suitcases turn into backpacks. The only problem is, they are quite heavy. That is a concern of mine because of Ken’s heart, so I sure hope we can hop in our truck and camper and drive away if that time should come.

Click here to see our Emergency Kit List.

What about if a local emergency were to occur – would you be prepared?

Here are some suggestions that may help get your preparations started:

  • Have a “go to” cupboard to store emergency supplies such as candles, matches, flashlights, etc.  Here is a great resource link you will want to bookmark for advice on how to be prepared:  72hours.org
  • In the advent of an emergency, it is difficult to think straight, so ahead of time, make a list of the items you need to pack.  I laminated this list and attached it to my toiletries bag with a key chain.  The items on this are totally personal to each person, but after so many trips to the hospital, mine included ear plugs, comfortable slippers, a “Y” connector and ear phones so that I could listen to the hospital TV along with Ken.
  • Have a telephone list made up and keep it near each phone in your house.  If you have some confidential numbers on it, you should keep it in a drawer near the phone, out of sight.  This list should include emergency phone numbers, as well as numbers of your neighbours, family and friends.  If you do not have time to call anyone, just grab it and your cell phone.  Then you can make calls from the hospital and not rely on your memory or looking for a phone book.
  • I carry a new long distance phone card in my wallet.  They are inexpensive, one for $5 will suffice.  Then in an emergency, just activate it and you can call family and friends and not worry about quarters or an expensive phone bill coming in when you are back home.

“Despair is most often the offspring of ill-preparedness”

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So what have you done in your home to prepare for an emergency?  Let us know in the comments below!  And if you’re looking for emergency kits and emergency food, The Ready Store has some fabulous deals on right now.  Well worth checking out!

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Revised on March 14, 2011