When all hell breaks loose in the economy again, don’t say that RuralMoney.com didn’t warn you to be prepared in a SHTF disaster, and get involved in the “movement” of rural survival, disaster and emergency preparedness.
1. Create An Emergency Communications Plan. Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household can call or email to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same disaster. And, they should know they are the chosen contact. Make certain every household member has that contact’s and each other’s email addresses and telephone numbers (home, work, cell, Twitter and Skype). Leave these contact numbers at your children’s schools, if you have children, and at your workplace. Your family must know that if telephones are not working, then they need to be patient and try again later, try email or a CB Radio. Many people flood the telephone lines when emergencies happen, but a CB Radio can sometimes get through when calls or email can’t.
2. Establish A Meeting Place. Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or the area evacuated. You may even want to make arrangements to stay with a family member or friend in case of emergency. Be sure to include any pets in these plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters, and some hotels will not accept them.
3. Assemble A SHTF Disaster Supplies Kit (Bug Out Bag). If you need to evacuate your home or are asked to “shelter in place,” having some essential supplies on hand will make an easy-to-carry container such as a duffel bag or small plastic trash can. Include “special needs” items for any member of your household (infant formula or items for disabled or older people), a sleeping bag or bedroll for each, a battery powered radio or television and extra batteries, food, bottled water and tools. It is also a good idea to include some cash and copies of important family documents (birth certificates, passports and licenses) in your BOB. Copies of essential documents like powers of attorney, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, life insurance beneficiary designations and a copy of your will, should be kept in a safe location outside your home. A safe deposit box or the home of a friend or family member who lives out of town is a good choice.
4. Check On The School Emergency Plan Of Any School-Age Children You May Have. You need to know if they keep children at school until a parent or designated adult can pick them up or send them home on their own. Be certain that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pickup. And, ask what type of authorization the school may require to release a child to someone you designate, if you are not able to pick up your child. During times of emergency, the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls.
⦁ Remain calm and be patient.
⦁ Follow the advice of local emergency officials.
⦁ Listen to your radio or television for news and instructions.
⦁ If the disaster occurs near you, check for injuries. Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.
⦁ If the disaster occurs near your home while you are there, check for damage using a flashlight. Do not light matches or candles or turn on electrical switches. Check for fires, fire hazards and other household hazards. Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly.
⦁ Shut off any other damaged utilities.
⦁ Confine or secure your pets.
⦁ Call your family contact—do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
⦁ Check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled.
If you don’t think you need a SHTF disaster plan, then pass this information along to someone who is unaware, yet willing to take heed and save their household.
Stay tuned for Part II.