Checklist: Preparing Your Home and Family for an Emergency

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 8, 2014

(StatePoint) You can’t predict the future, but you can feel more confident in your ability to face unforeseen emergencies if you prepare your home and family ahead of time. Planning for all kinds of scenarios is crucial, say experts.

“In the event of an emergency, a well-thought out emergency plan can eliminate stress, limit confusion and save a great deal of wasted time,” says Tim MacWelch, author of the new book, “Outdoor Life: Prepare for Anything.” “Different areas are prone to different risk factors. So look up your neighborhood’s flood history and seismological data to understand your risks.

Luckily, there is a lot of overlap in the supplies and preparations you need to make for many disasters. To be better prepared for anything, MacWelch recommends taking the following actions:

• Create up-to-date contact information cards for each family member.

• Develop communication strategies to keep in touch, even if phones are out-of-service.

• Plan how you will assist or care for family who have mobility or medical issues, communication difficulties or special needs.

• Maintain, inspect and rotate emergency supplies, such as nonperishable food, water, first aid, lighting and communication equipment. Periodically pull out all of your emergency supplies. Take inventory, check expiration dates, use older items and replace them with new supplies. Make sure you end up with more items than you started with.

• Maintain specialized supplies for infants, young children and sick or elderly members of your family.

• Create a plan and keep supplies for the care of pets

• Have the tools and the knowledge to shut off your utilities.

• Develop basic self-sufficiency skills in the event you have to seek shelter in a place without utilities. Create a supply kit that includes drinking water, no-cook foods like protein bars and peanut butter, first-aid supplies, flashlights, digital backups of important documents and cash.

• Create an evacuation plan, in case you have to leave your home.

• Learn basic safety skills, such as first aid, CPR, and fire prevention.

• Get the family ready by conducting emergency drills. For example, you can perform a classic fire drill by evacuating your home at an unexpected time. Have everyone low-crawl out of the house and meet at a planned spot outside the home. Round out the exercise with stop, drop and roll each time you have a fire drill.

More information about MacWelch’s “Prepare for Anything” can be found at

Take steps now to prepare yourself, your home and your family for whatever may come your way. Knowledge, supplies and a game plan can increase your family’s chances for survival.