Prepping is more than just having a lot of great supplies. You must also have a plan if you want your family to survive any situation successfully. If you are preparing for a family rather than just yourself, there are a lot more factors that can go into a survival situation. You can’t simply grab your bug out bag and go, if you’ve got a spouse and kids. The key to successful emergency planning is not just to plan, but to communicate with your family so they know how to act when an emergency situation actually does arise. Whether it is a basic natural disaster, a powerful storm, or a true SHTF scenario, planning now will help you and your family immensely when the times comes.
The Binder System
To keep all their information in one place, many families employ the binder system. (I actually have two different binders, one for my home and one for my car). In the binder, you can place all the information that you may need in the case of an emergency. Each family may have different things they want to add or include, but here are a few items to consider.
Emergency Contacts – Your doctor’s number, and numbers for other emergency facilities and organization. You will also want to identify, in case you are not in the home when an emergency hits, who is your backup emergency contact.
Everyday Contacts – Don’t forget to include the everyday numbers that you use, with cell phones becoming the norm, people are less apt to remember numbers, so those basic contacts you may need in an emergency should be included too; daycares and schools, classes and lesson teachers and/or coaches, grandparents, neighbors, and don’t forget your number too, in case your children are with a caretaker or babysitter.
Medical & Allergy Information – If your children, or anyone in your family, needs regular medication or has allergies that could be of concern, include this information as well.
Identification of Likely Disasters – Take some time, even include your kids, to research what disasters are more likely to hit in your area. Then create different response plans catered to that specific situation.
Jobs & Responsibilities – Once you’ve identified your potential disasters, consider thinking about jobs and responsibilities that each person in your family can have in the case of a disaster situation. For instance, if there is a flood your younger kids can help move important objects off the ground, or unplug electrical devices. If you create a plan, and inform your children, even run drills if you feel it’s necessary, they will know exactly what to do in a disaster or survival situation.
Copies of Important Documents – I keep all of our important documents in a fire and waterproof safe, but certain documents I keep copies of in our binder. This works great for things like insurance cards. Be careful of keeping financial information, however, in too easily of an accessible place. I like to make copies of our credit and debit cards (front and back) but I NEVER leave that information in my car binder, just in case someone breaks into my car. My main home binder however, has copies of social security cards, financial information and Internet websites and passwords– whatever I may need if we have to bug out to a different location.
Food Storage Info – Some people like to keep track of their food storage, expiration date and shelf lives and if you are doing this, keeping a copy in your emergency binder is a smart call. Having that information at your fingertips can help you avoid using any spoiled food and making a bad situation even worse.
Have an Emergency Meeting Place
Ensure everyone in your family knows where to go to in case of an emergency. Your first meeting place should always be your home, but in the event that your home becomes compromised you and your family will need to know where to meet in case communication is down.
You may consider having more than one meeting place to accommodate different disasters, or potential scenarios. Either way, make it a place that isn’t impossible to get to, and a place that has several routes to get there, that way if one road is cut off, there is still another option for still reaching your safe place. Print off maps for your binder, and identify multiple routes, not only form your home, but from their schools, friends’ homes, or other places they might be. Then share these different routes with your children, so they are aware of how to safely reach their destination. You can also include a map in your kids’ bug out bags and school backpack too, just in case they are at school and have to go to your meeting spot to stay safe.
Emergency Plan Gear
There are a few items that can be useful in an emergency situation, even one that is not necessarily a SHTF scenario. In case of snow storms, floods, earthquakes or a variety of other common natural disaster you will find these items will bring you news, safety and comfort when you need it most.
Radios & Walkie Talkies
Having an emergency radio, especially one with a NOAA weather station option allows you to stay informed in case of a power outage or loss of cell service. They have solar powered and hand crank models, as well as battery powered ones, that can work even if you are off the grid. Prepared families will probably also keep a set of two-way radios, or walkie talkies to keep them in touch with each other in case there is a need to be separated.
Even in very warm conditions, blankets and other clothing can be used in a variety of ways, for shelter, in medical emergencies, for bedding, and much more. Having emergency blankets, as well as even some old blankets and pillows stashed away could be a huge comfort in difficult times.
Flashlights and other means of lighting are critical to safety and comfort, especially for a family with small children. If the power goes down, you will want to make sure you have reliable and safe light for your family.
Water and Water Filters
In the case of SHTF, and many other disaster, water sources may be scarce. Even if you have running water, certain conditions can contaminate drinking sources which is why is is always a good idea to have water stored for just such occasions. If you have a large family, however, you will find storing the amount of water you need for a longer term basis could be quite challenging which is why many prepared families make sure they have a water filter system, even if it is just a few personal water filters like Life Straws for each person in your family.
Preparing is more than just stockpiling stuff, it’s stockpiling knowledge and information. Creating a family binder and an emergency response plan is only one part, but an important part, of the prepper’s agenda. By making a few simple planning measures to add to your prepping procedures you will not only help safe, but it will also keep you and your family one step ahead of the game in any level of disaster scenario.