Make your home the place to be during a disaster

In the article A simple action plan for disasters I wrote about what to do when a disaster happens, how to reunite with your family, and how to evacuate. 

Far more often you’ll want to hunker down in your home until the emergency is over. This is usually a short period of time. Your goal is to ensure everyone is comfortable and entertained until you can get back out, and life returns to normal. 

Your initial tasks

When a disaster does occur, either expected or unexpected, what you do first really depends on the situation. If the power goes out, you just want to find all the lights and prepare to make dinner in the dark. On the other hand, after an earthquake, or before a hurricane, you’ll want to organize your supplies so that you can get to them in a hurry. 
  • Move your Go bags to a central place that’s easy to get to in the dark. 
  • Recharge lamps, emergency batteries, and 2 way radios 
  • Fill up all water containers and bathtubs with fresh water if you think you’ll lose water 
  • Locate an adjustable wrench to turn off gas if there could be damage to your home. Or better yet, buy a purpose built wrench to keep near the gas valve. 
  • Unpack sleeping bags if you think it will get exceptionally cold. 
  • Download movies to all your devices so you can watch movies without electricity 
  • Visit, or your local emergency websites, for news and services 

Home supplies

The nice thing about sheltering in place is you have all the things you need, however, your home is designed for a normal day. Here’s a few ideas to help improve your situation when you can’t just pop down to the store for groceries, or the power is out for an extended time.

To get started, here’s a list of helpful items and how they can be used in an emergency. You probably have a few of these items already.
  • Buckets
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Dish towels
  • Extra freezer
  • Fuel
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Garbage bags
  • Gas shut-off wrench
  • Electric generators
  • Plastic tarps
  • Plumbing tools
  • Sandbags
  • Shovels