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Preparing your family for an emergency (seriously)

Tiernan McKay is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Alive!, Occupational Health and Safety, Restaurants and Institutions, Tampa Bay and Arizona Woman. Right now, she is either ridi...

Tips from the Survival Mom herself

Most mothers feel a strong need to protect their families but one woman has turned that desire into a full-on crusade to help moms everywhere prepare for the worst.

How prepared are you for a natural disaster, economic collapse or other emergency? If you've never thought about preparing or aren't sure why you should care, meet Lisa Bedford, the Survival Mom. Through her extremely popular blog and Survival Mom book, Lisa has helped countless moms stock their pantries and hone their skills just in case a catastrophe strikes the home front. September is National Preparedness Month, so there's no better time to get started.

Why bother?

While modern conveniences, manicured lawns and stocked grocery store shelves provide a sense of comfort, there’s no guarantee that any of them will always be around. We all face challenges — some of them bigger than others — but preparing for those challenges makes them a little less scary. "I never knew how powerfully I could love before I had children, and it was that almost primal love that pushed me in the direction of learning how to protect my kids, my home and how to prepare for any disaster," says Bedford. "A lot of moms may be aware of a specific danger but never take steps to prepare for it out of fear or confusion. My mission is to give these moms specific steps to take so they can worry less and enjoy their families more."

Read about preparing a family disaster plan >>

Survival is a passion

Preparing for a disaster (or just a bad snow storm) isn’t always fun, but for Bedford, it’s a passion worth sharing. "When I get email from my readers telling me what they’ve accomplished, how they’ve started a garden for the first time, or that they took a CPR class on my recommendation, that, to me, is the true measure of success," she says. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert like Bedford to be a survival mom in your own right. Tackle a manageable project, like creating an emergency kit for your family, and you’ll probably breathe a little easier at night.

How to plan and grow a fall vegetable garden >>

Get started

Women don’t usually shy away from a challenge, especially when it relates to protecting their families. In an effort to empower moms to take proactive, practical steps to prepare, Bedford suggests that moms ask the following questions:

  1. What is the most likely natural disaster that would affect me and my family?
  2. What is the most likely extreme weather event that would affect us?
  3. What is the most likely man-made event that might affect us? This could be a long-term job loss, a dangerous situation at a nearby nuclear power plant, a house fire, etc.

"Once you have a list of those three events, choose the one that really is most likely and start preparing for that first," she says.

How to build your emergency supply kit >>

Emergency kits or "bug out bags"

An essential component of a prepared household is an emergency kit or "bug out bag." Every family should at least have emergency supplies handy should an evacuation be necessary. The content of these kits or bags is dependent upon the most likely catastrophe your family may face, your location, special needs and potential destination. "I believe in the power of being proactive and that requires, first, awareness, know what the most likely potential dangers are, then education, or learning what I can do, and then action," says Bedford.

For details on how to prepare, including helpful checklists, check out Lisa’s blog.

More on protecting your family

Evacuation
Be prepared for an earthquake
In case of emergency

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