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Disasters and problems can spring up at any time and wreak havoc in already stressful lives. Fire, raging storms or even earthquakes can quickly turn a nice normal day into a full blown panic event. Thankfully many problems can be seen in advance; in the case of severe weather following the weather on the local news can help you prepare for the possible negative impact. Unfortunately, some calamities cannot be predicted. So what can be done to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of an emergency? Taking a little time, effort and planning can help when emergencies arise.

Take Action
If severe weather is predicted or a raging forest fire is heading your way and there are rumors of evacuations for your area, you need to leave. Waiting until the last minute to leave can become disastrous. Not only do you put your life in danger but emergency responders will also put their lives in danger to help you when things go wrong. If your home is in the path of calamity and authorities are suggesting you leave, make plans and get to a safe place. Things, homes, possessions can be replaced, you and your family cannot.

Get Supplies
Sometimes emergencies surprise us and we can’t get away from them. If an emergency hits and you are able to stay in your home but might be lacking power, prepare yourself and family with an emergency kit. Plan for at least 72 hours (three days’ worth) of supplies. Some things your kit should include are:

  • Water; at least 1 gallon of water per person per day
  • Non-perishable foods like granola or protein bars and ready to eat meats
  • Cleaning supplies for body and surfaces like baby wipes and disinfectant wipes
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • NOAA weather alert radio with extra batteries
  • Medications and first aid supplies
  • Cash and ATM card
  • Cell phone car charger
  • Personal hygiene items

These are only a few items that are needed in a 72 hour kit. Each person or family’s needs will vary and your particular kit should reflect those needs.

Have a Plan
The most important part to getting through an emergency is to have a plan. Make arrangements before a disaster strikes about where you can go and who you can stay with. If you have family or friends nearby work out a mutual housing arrangement if emergency affects either party. If you and family members are separated, work up a plan to meet up at a fixed location like a school or church you can all easily reach.

The most important thing to remember is not to panic when trouble comes. No one can see what is going to happen or who will be affected. Start making plans to prepare for the unforeseen in the hopes that you never need to use them. A little time and effort will give you and your family peace of mind when trouble does arise.