11 Ways to Prepare for a Disaster

The Tax Day Houston Flood, as the deluge last week is being called, is ever present in most of us in this corner of Texas.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to post about how to prepare for a disaster. No, I'm not going to tell you to arm yourselves like you'll be fighting zombie hordes. There are many emergency preparedness things you can do. The ones that follow are the main ones that will get you through a short crisis.

Preparation Is Everything

When Mother Nature throws a hissy fit, you better have an emergency kit already in place that will help you get through the situation.

Many natural disasters also feature power outages that can continue days after the event causing the disaster is over. How do you entertain kids and spouses who are accustomed to whiling away the hours with electronic devices and digital entertainment?

How do you feed a hungry family when you have only an electric stove and microwave--and a rapidly-defrosting freezer and refrigerator?

How do you keep a sense of safety when all the lights are out and the security alarm is off?


1. You better have board games and decks of cards so you can introduce them to the old-fashioned way of having fun.

2. Stacks of books geared to their taste. After all, a Kindle will hold a charge only so long.

3. Get a couple of jigsaw puzzles the whole family can piece together and drawing paper, coloring books, activity books, crayons, and such for the younger kids. Heck, get some adult coloring books while you're at it.

Food and Water

1. Get in the habit of always keeping a couple of cases of bottled water for emergency use. A gallon of water for drinking per person is a rule of thumb. If your water supply is interrupted, you'll also need water for brushing teeth, cooking, and sanitation.

2. Get a camp stove. Even frozen dinners can be scooped out and heated in a pan on a camp stove. Water can be boiled for coffee.

3. Get an old fashioned coffee maker like a coffee press or my personal favorite, a drip coffee pot where boiling water is poured into the top compartment and it drips through the middle section filled with coffee grounds and comes out in the bottom section as coffee.

4. Keep a supply of canned goods in case the power is out a long time. Once after a hurricane, we didn't have power for almost 2 weeks. With that long a period of time, the stuff in the freezer will defrost and rot before you can use it all. That's why so many people have block party barbecues when there's no power.

Safety and Security

1. Have a flashlight in every room and check them every month to make sure the batteries are strong.

2. Keep a supply of batteries for those flashlights and anything else you might need that's battery operated. Store them in a cool, dry place. Lithium disposable batteries last the longest.

3. Kids who grow up in cities with the false security of alarm systems and well-lit nights may feel extremely anxious when the lights go out. Plan in advance how you'll make a game of it to get them intellectually invested rather than emotionally. One way might be to look at the stars and discuss the constellations. Or, if you grew up in a rural area, use this opportunity to tell them about your childhood.

4. Teach your children about the dangers of walking in flooded streets and what to watch out for in case they must. Talk to them about safe practices like not driving into flooded areas. Communication makes anything better.

Takeaway Truth

If you have a tip, post it in a reply.

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