Did you know that 78% of Americans are not prepared for a natural disaster? People too often think, “It’ll never happen to me!”. The beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic is a perfect example of how necessary items like water and toilet paper can sell out quickly and leave others empty handed. Don’t dilly-dally and end up one of those people who are SOL when all hell breaks loose.
Here are 20 things you can do to prepare for a natural disaster:

Stock up on Items needed for a natural disaster:

  • Non-perishable foods (think canned goods and protein bars – foods that will last)
  • Clean drinking water. Fill up your bathtub with extra water to ensure you don’t run out.
  • Gas for your car should you need to evacuate quickly. A gas can is also a good idea.
  • A battery recharger like this one can help you recharge all the batteries in your home to ensure you have an ample supply for flashlights and radios.
  • First aid kit that includes all the necessary items.
  • Copy of your family’s medical records stored in a safe place.
  • You will need battery powered flashlights, lanterns and flameless candles. (It is not recommended to use flame candles in a disaster – if an accident happens and your home catches fire – there may not be an emergency rescue service available to help you).
  • A battery converter - When the power goes out and your flashlight is dead – and you realize you don’t have a D battery for it – you can convert a common AA battery with a converter like this one.

Additional ways to prepare:

  • Charge up power banks to use with your phone.
  • Locate your nearest community shelter outside of the evacuation zone.
  • Stock up on prescription medications should pharmacies close.
  • Properly store products and batteries for emergency use.
  • If you have a radio or flashlight only used during emergencies, the batteries should be removed from the device and stored separately to avoid battery leakage and corrosion of devices.
  • If planning to evacuate, ensure you have a hotel outside of the evacuation zone and printed directions on how to get there.
  • Plan ahead with out of state friends and family who you can stay with.

If you have pets:

  • Make sure your pets are microchipped and find pet friendly shelters and hotels in your area – keep a list on hand. Be sure to ask for restrictions on number, size, and species. Go to Pet’s Welcome to search for pet friendly hotels.
  • Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter your pet.
  • Cats or other small pets will likely need to be crated at a shelter.
  • Have a copy of your pet’s medical records including their veterinarian and any medications.

    It is best to have a plan already in place before a disaster strikes. Take time to discuss potential issues with your family and determine the best course of action. The Dollar Store stocks a variety of non-perishable goods for an affordable way to stock up on food, and the American Red Cross sells 3-Day Emergency Preparedness Kits you can check out here.

    Check out Disaster Checklist for other ways to prepare!