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Be prepared for emergencies this year

If you watch or read the news, doom and gloom abound. It’s easy to let fear or helplessness set it. Rather than feel like you have no control, take initiative in 2011 to be prepared for an emergency. Where do you start and what do you need to keep your family safe in case of a disaster?

Emergency checklist

It may not be fun to think about it, but being prepared will grant you much-needed peace of mind. You don’t have to build a bunker, but you do need to start somewhere.

Take initiative

Perhaps the biggest impediment to preparedness is a false sense of security. It’s not uncommon for people to feel that others will step up to take care of us if the worst should happen. But who are these others and can they live up to our expectations?

“We cannot count on our government to take care of us when disaster strikes,” says Jason Ratcliff, a police officer and owner of Empower Defense and Life Skills LLC. “It is imperative that individuals take responsibility for themselves and their families during an emergency by having plans and provisions in place to sustain them while things slowly get back to normal.”

Peace of mind

Nobody wants to think about the aftermath of a disaster, but a little bit of planning and effort can turn your helplessness into security. “In a disaster situation, not only do we struggle with the situation at hand but to compound the problem we may very well have to cope with the loss of loved ones and our personal possessions,” says Ratcliff. “Having basic necessities on hand such as food and drinking water will enable us to feel some empowerment and provide control in our lives when things seem out of control.”


Preparedness is surely subjective. Some people feel prepared with a few weeks worth of food and water. Others need years’ worth of freeze-dried food, a generator and a firearm. If you are just getting started, prioritize and keep it simple. “Your most important provisions will be food and water,” says Ratcliff. Accordingly, he suggests the following tips:

  • If you have city water, you will want to stockpile bottled water and possibly buy a portable water purification system or water purification tablets.
  • Freeze-dried or other “ready to eat” meals are convenient but they can be expensive. If you are on a budget you may want to consider buying canned food and do an inventory periodically rotating out anything that expires. Ramen noodles are a great, affordable option. You could also buy a food dehydrator and consider vacuum sealing. Store these provisions in a plastic tote to keep them bug-free.
  • Medical supplies are a must during disaster. You can buy pre-made kits, but a more affordable option is to make your own. Include bandages, aspirin, antiseptics, iodine, peroxide, personal and feminine hygiene products.
  • Don’t forget any supplies or provisions that your pet would need in an emergency.

You can always build on your supplies, but having something is always better than being completely unprepared. Taking steps towards self-sufficiency will ease your burden when emergency strikes.

Read more about preparing for an emergency

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