When natural disasters hit, or when extreme weather like the snowfall seen across the Eastern United States is seen, my thoughts turn to emergency preparedness.
The proper emergency preparedness steps can help you save money in the long run, since you won’t be as vulnerable to some of the costs and difficulties that can come with an emergency. When you are in the midst of an emergency, it’s not the time to prepare. You need to be ready ahead of time. And if you do take the time to prepare little by little, you won’t have to spend a lot of money all at once. Here are 3 tips that can help you improve your emergency preparedness:
1. Figure Out What You Need
Your first step is to figure out what you need. What if you weren’t able to get to the store for a few days? What would you eat or drink? What if the water and power went out? How would you cook and wash up? Think about these situations and then make a list of things you might need to help you through these times. In most cases, being able to get through a week or two is probably enough.
Think about how you would get through, and then make a list of things you might need.
2. Buy Things Gradually
It can be a financial nightmare to go to the store and immediately get everything you need for emergency preparedness. Instead of buying enough food to last you for a month all in one go, get a few extra things at a time. Get an extra bag of frozen vegetables, or buy two or three extra cans of tuna. The same thing applies to other emergency supplies. You can buy a couple of hand-crank flashlights on one trip, and purchase an extra blanket on another trip. Get extra toilet paper on a trip, and a new First-Aid kit on another. You’ll make the whole thing more manageable if you plan ahead and build your store gradually.
For larger purchases, you might need to set aside money. If you want to buy a generator or if you want to by a propane heater or a new grill for cooking when the power or gas goes out, you might need to put together a short-term savings goal to help you save up for what you need.
3. Rotate Your Stores
Finally, make sure you rotate your stores and regularly check what you have. Hand-crank flash lights and radios need to be cranked every couple of months in order to remain efficient. You should rotate through your food storage so that food isn’t going bad. You can replace what you use the next week. Regularly check 72-hour kits and First-Aid kits and replace items that you might have used.
Make sure your stores are kept in an accessible place. You want to be able to get to what you need quickly and easily — even if you are just grabbing a bag to bring with you in the car. Speaking of which, it’s a good practice to keep your gas tank at least half full at all times so that you can leave quickly, and get a reasonable distance away, without waiting in gas lines.
What are your best tips for emergency preparedness?