Preparing For A Disaster: Are You Ready?

I've lived through many California earthquakes. Most of them were minor but two of them were terrifying. I was 10 years old when the '87 Whittier Earthquake hit as we were leaving for school. The epicenter was just a few miles from my home. I had just stepped outside and the first thing I saw was our potted plants crashing to the ground. My cat ran screeching up a tree and the water in our pool began sloshing over the sides. I was paralyzed with fear. To ease my fears, my mother created a disaster plan for my sister and I. We kept food reserves, batteries and flashlights on hand. We had meeting places in case we were separated. Then the '94 Northridge Earthquake  hit. It was bigger and scarier. The power went out and we huddled under our dining room table for hours afterwards.

The recent China earthquake has spurred me to into action-mode. Disaster experts tell us we should be able to get by for 3 days without help. Last fall, the Orange County fires came within a couple miles of my home. Whether it's fire or earthquake, I want to be prepared.

So, I went to the California Volunteers website and downloaded the Family Disaster Plan. I printed it out and am filling in our family's important information like phone numbers, emergency services locations, out-of-state contacts, and meeting places in case of evacuation. I will be photocopying this and sending a copy of it to our out-of-state contact. My children will carry the wallet-sized disaster information cards in their school backpacks.

We have purchased a cell-phone for our oldest daughter to carry with her and use in case of emergency. Practicing our disaster plan with our kids is next on my list of preparations.

I also have a disaster kit ready-to-go. It has everything from a hand-crank radio to diapers, batteries, emergency water, protein bars, and First-Aid kit. I keep it in a backpack. Here it is:


For a check-list of necessary supplies, I found this disaster preparedness page especially helpful. Scroll down until you reach the disaster prep. section.

I am still in the process of adding more non-perishable food supplies, water and photocopies of important documents like birth certificates and insurance policies.

Most experts advise you to keep a disaster kit at home and in the car. But because I don't work outside the home and since Matt works just a few blocks away, we only have one major disaster kit. However, I do keep my minivan stocked with extra supplies for everyday use.

I know I can't control when natural disasters will occur. But being prepared and having a plan helps me feel more secure about my family's safety.

No matter where you live, it makes sense to be prepared.

What natural disasters are common in your area? Tornadoes, floods, fire? Do you have a family disaster plan? What supplies did you use most in the aftermath of a flood, tornado, earthquake? Please share your stories AND TIPS! I would love to hear from anyone here in California or ANYWHERE--that includes my readers in Germany, Japan & the UK! :-) Let's do this thing, mommies...and daddies. (Do I even have any daddy readers? lol!) 1,2,3..SHARE!