In regards to a May 7 story from the Weather Channel web site (weather.com) described “10 Things You’re Not Doing to Prepare for Natural Disasters,” I conducted a non-random, tiny sample size survey of 11 friends and relatives to see what they were and weren’t doing. Some of them said they felt pretty prepared for an emergency.
I asked 11 questions based on the story from weather.com. The questions and results are at the bottom of this post.
Let’s look at the top six things people weren’t doing.
Do you have a disaster plan for your family?
Only two people surveyed said they have a disaster plan.
“I have a plan if there’s a [house] fire,” one said.
A disaster plan covers what you might face in your area: wildfire, hurricane, or winter storm for example. Where do you meet if some of you are away? Do you shelter at home or evacuate? What are your escape routes? It should answer all those questions.
Have you set aside a few hundred dollars in small bills?
Seven survey participants had not.
“But we do have an emergency fund in a bank,” one said.
You need cash for about a week, suggested Ann House, coordinator of the Personal Money Management Center at the University of Utah.
“In three days, usually the electricity is back on, the heat is back on and stores are up and going, so if you want to be on the safe side, [keep cash for] a week. The rest can go in the bank,” House said.
Another respondent had cash in larger denominations.
House said that might not work.
“If you were out of water and somebody came by with a water selling wagon, you might be giving the person a $100 bill for water. It’s $1 bills that are going to come in handy for emergencies,” she said.
Have you got a full first aid kit including prescriptions?
Only three participants kept a first aid kit ready with prescriptions.
FEMA’s pamphlet “Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Special Needs” recommends keeping enough daily medication for at least a week along with copies of prescriptions and dosage information.
Many insurance providers won’t allow you to get more than a month’s supply of prescription medicines. One survey participant said his family keeps their prescriptions where they can grab them as they’re going out the door. That way they don’t have to get around insurance to obtain extra medicines.
Have you practiced for a disaster?
Five said they had.
One survey respondent said her church congregation hosted a community disaster event a couple of years ago. She didn’t say if she’d practiced since then. FEMA recommends practicing at least twice per year.
Is your car ready for a disaster, including a gas tank at least half full?
Seven said no.
Start by getting a car kit together. It should include emergency supplies, tools, and a change of clothes, according to ready.gov.
Next, make sure the vehicle is in good condition. Then plan where to go and how to get there. Ready.gov provides a commuter emergency plan where you can fill out alternate routes and modes of transportation.
Most importantly, keep your gas tank at least half-full, Gwen Camp, director of individual and community preparedness for FEMA told weather.com. If you hit gridlock during an emergency and your tank is empty you might not make it to a gas station.
Have you stored at least three gallons of water per person in your family?
Camp told weather.com you should store at least one gallon per person per day for drinking, cooking and sanitation.
FEMA offers information about how to prepare and store water including bottle types to avoid and how much bleach to sanitize water.
How are you doing in your emergency preparations? In what ways are you not prepared? You can take the survey and see my results below.
How many of the following things have you done to prepare for an emergency?
Y N 1. Do you have enough food for your family for three days?
Y N 2. Have you set aside a few hundred dollars in small bills?
Y N 3. Do you have all your important records stored somewhere safe and easy to obtain?
Y N 4. Do you have an out-of-area emergency contact?
Y N 5. Have you stored at least three gallons of water per person in your family?
Y N 6. Do you have a disaster plan for your family?
Y N 7. Do you have a place to stay in an emergency, especially if you have pets? (many places won’t allow them)
Y N 8. Are you trained in CPR and/or first aid?
Y N 9. Have you practiced for a disaster?
Y N 10. Is your car ready for a disaster, including a gas tank at least half full?
Y N 11. Have you got a full first aid kit including prescriptions?
|1. Food for 3 days||11||0|
|2. Savings in small bills||4||7|
|3. Records easily accessible||8||3|
|4. Out-of-area emergency contact||8||3|
|5. Three gallons of water per person||7||4|
|6. Disaster plan||2||7||2|
|7. Emergency shelter||10||1||"our car"|
|8. First aid trained||6||3||2||"not certified"|
|9. Practiced for a disaster||5||5||1||"somewhat"|
|10. Car prepared for disaster||6||5|
|11. First aid kit with prescriptions||3||7||1|