Being prepared for a disaster is important, but oftentimes it can seem overwhelming. Insurance information is complicated, buying supplies for a full-fledged emergency kit can become expensive and frankly the thought of what would happen if you face a disaster can be mentally and emotionally draining. These are still important steps to take over time, but you can start small with these easy tips and become more prepared:
1. Download your local news station’s news or weather app.
If a disaster is on it’s way, you will want to know sooner rather than later. Your local news station should have an app that you can download. When you do, make sure to turn on push notifications. Doing so will mean you will get notified of important news and weather events like a disaster headed to your area.
2. Determine the safest part of your house (or your neighbors’).
If a disaster calls for evacuation, it’s important that you do so. However, if you are not told to evacuate, you should determine the safest part of your home. During most severe storms you want to be indoors, as low and as far from windows as possible — basements, first floor bathrooms, etc. If you live in an apartment building and do not live on the ground floor, consider making friends with those below you. In the case of a severe storm you may ask if you can take shelter with them.
3. Collect the basics
You can find a list for what to include in a full-fledged emergency kit at ready.gov and we encourage you to start collecting these items. However, it’s a long list and you may not be able to afford everything all in one shopping trip. So start with the basics:
- Battery powered flashlight
- External battery charger for your cell phone
- Bottled water
- Important family documents
4. Save both personal and professional emergency numbers in your phone.
If a disaster does happen, it’s important to know who to call for help. Make sure you have these phone numbers saved in your phone:
- Each member of your household
- At least one out-of-town friend or family member that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency.
- FEMA: 800-621-FEMA (3362)
- Emergency services — Police and Fire Department
- Medical providers
- Insurance companies
Always remember that if you have a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1. You should also mark at least one friend or family member as “ICE” in your phone’s contacts, which stands for In Case of Emergency. This will help emergency responders know who to contact on your behalf if there is a need.
You can learn more about how Convoy of Hope prepares for and responds to disasters in the video below and at convoyofhope.org/ds.