By Matthew Stein, P.E., Author of When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance and Planetary Survival, ISBN #978-1933392837, published by Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT (800) 639-4099 http://www.chelseagreen.com
- Place 72-hour emergency survival “Grab-And-Run” kits in your cars and/or home, to help you and your family cope with the critical first 3 days (could be more) after a disaster or terrorist act (see Chapter 3: Supplies & Preparations, or my web site article 72 Hour Survival Kits for more information). If you live in a major city, I highly recommend keeping at least a small 72 hour kit in each car.
- Determine a local meeting place with a large open area, such as a park or school, where your household can gather if you are separated and do not have access to your home during emergencies.
- Make sure that all capable members of your family know how and where to shut off the water, gas, and electricity for your home in the event of an emergency.
- Stash spare keys to your vehicles somewhere on the vehicle and an additional supply of keys somewhere outside of your home (securely hidden).
- Store at least one week’s supply (preferably a month or more) of food for your household.
- Store a combination of water, water treatment chemicals, and water-purifying filters to provide for your household for at least a week (see Chapter 5: Water, for more information on filters and purification, or my web site article, Disinfecting Your Water).
- Keep a survival manual (like my book) and a first aid kit (see web site article, First Aid Kits) in each car.
- Get proper first aid and CPR training for all capable members of your family. See the American Red Cross for first aid training and assistance with local emergency planning.
- Arrange for an out-of-state emergency contact to reach for coordination and communication. After an emergency, it may be easier to call long distance than locally, or your family may be separated and need an outside contact to communicate through.
- Locate your nearest emergency shelter (call your local Red Cross for this information). Practice the route to the shelter, if it’s not conveniently located.
- Make sure that you have smoke detectors in your home. Change their batteries at least once each year.
- Store your important papers in one easily accessible location, preferably in a waterproof and flameproof box. Depending upon the age and physical security of your bank (flood zone, hurricane or tornado potential, earthquake resistance, etc.), placing your important papers in a safety deposit box may, or may not, be a good idea.
- Discuss your emergency preparedness plans with all members of your household. Keep the discussion light and positive.