Planning For Weather Emergencies

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A weather emergency, blackout or other large scale catastrophe happens to most of us at some time. Preparing ahead of time can help you avoid unnecessary difficulty and hardship!

Planning For Weather Emergencies

Planning For Weather Emergencies

Whenever I see something in the media, I question whether it makes sense or not. I have heard people suggest that you keep an emergency stash but I always wondered was what good is all of that emergency food and water if it is buried under a pile of rubble (earthquakes) or, in the case of Kansas and Florida, if it’s just blown away?

I recently heard someone who must have thought the same thing because they had a very good idea.

Keep more than one emergency stash.

You could keep an emergency kit in your car (which I do), one at your office, at another family member’s home or a friend’s house. I know you may think you don’t have room to keep an emergency kit in the trunk of your car, at the office, etc., but you don’t need a large collection of items in these backup areas.

You can get so many vacuum sealed food items and other supplies now that don’t take up much room. You don’t need to plan a 10 course meal for your family– only enough food to survive on for a couple of days. Usually a three day supply is enough to keep you from starving. Even one high powered “granola” type bar can fill up a person for one meal.

Remember this is your short term stash. No one will die of malnutrition in 3 days. Water is most important. If you don’t have room for a lot of bottled water a small water purifying kit might be helpful.

Get to know your neighbors.

I recently heard that the number one thing that will help you survive in an emergency is knowing your neighbors. The report said that over 90% of people who are saved in an emergency are saved by people they know.

If you think about it that is so true. If I know my neighbors and their house is on fire, I can tell the fire department how many children they have and where their bedrooms are or, if my neighbors are gone, I can tell the firemen there is one cat and one dog in their house.

One time last year when the tornado sirens went off I debated whether to call my neighbors to see if they had heard the sirens. I thought surely they had. I decided to listen to that little voice I hear once in a while urging me to do something (I know that sounds weird but you know what I mean) and I called them. Sure enough, they hadn’t heard it. I wish I had more room to list some of the many more times when neighbors can help each other.

Get to know your neighbors. We had a block party last year and I found out I have some really nice people living in my area. That is one way to get to meet them. If you see your neighbors in their yard, walk over and say “Hi!” Don’t use the excuse that you are shy or embarrassed. Get over it. It would be better to be a little embarrassed for a moment than for something awful to happen to you or your children because you didn’t want to be embarrassed.

Of course, getting to know your neighbors is a two way street. Not only can your neighbors help you but you might be the one to save them someday.


Plan a specific meeting place in case of emergency.

Tell your kids where to meet in an emergency. If in case of a fire somewhere, designate a place outside the house and practice going there. In case of a greater disaster, discuss where to meet at a friend’s or family member’s house outside of your area. My adult kids know if we get separated to meet or contact grandmother 1 or grandmother 2 who live in another city. If the entire country goes crazy, we have designated a couple of small towns in different states where we will meet.


Have the whole family learn basic first aid.

Learning first aid may someday make the difference in saving your life or the life of someone you love.

There is an old saying which is so very true, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Please be prepared.

Keep a list.

Write down a list in a notebook or on a piece of paper, in order of importance, of the things you need to take with you if ever you have to evacuate your home quickly because, at those times, you will not be able to think clearly or quickly. Of course, for those of us with CFS that’s all the time. : ) I’m not talking about making a list of things like your normal food items, water and a first aid kit. Those should already be in a handy place to grab at a moments notice.

I’m referring to things that aren’t of life or death importance but are of important sentimental or practical value that you would want to grab first if you had some warning before you had to evacuate. Here are some things I have on my list:

Important documents
Grandma’s quilt
Great grandma’s crocheted bedspread
Heirloom jewelry
My special jewelry

I included this list to give you an idea about what kinds of things to include. You could list things like your antique family Bible, photos etc. I don’t have photos on my list. If I had time I would take mine but I have copies of all of them in two completely different locations so it wouldn’t be quite so tragic if I lost them. Mostly, the list should include sentimental things that you can’t replace if they’re lost.

Try to keep these things stored as close together as possible so you can just grab them and go. I once found out the hard way when the media reported that a tornado was about 10 minutes away. For the life of me couldn’t think what I needed to grab to take to my closet with me. Thank goodness the tornado missed but I now know to be more prepared. Keep the list in a special place so you don’t lose it or forget where it is.

Check out the website because in a few days I will post more examples and kits.

Here is an emergency preparedness link.




  1. says

    You sound so right about getting to know our neighbors- i’ve been really awful on that front- i try everything to avoid people which i mustn’t. In fact, i’m overly nice one day and i’m hiding my face the next just coz i don’t want to be so nice AGAIN. Silly. Will change.

  2. Jan says

    I have often wondered the same thing. But in our case, most often it is the power that goes. What good is a freezer full of food that you can’t cook or save w/o a fridge. Why go to the store and stock up if you can’t cook it.

  3. Rachel says

    Jill, as usual you have written a great article. Living here in Florida I know the meaning of being prepared. I have evacuated for many hurricanes. One we even had to evacuate for twice! It is important to have water and food in the car. You may wonder why. Well, with so many people on the highway, and bumper to bumper traffic, it is best not to get off the highway, because it is too difficult to get back on. Also, gas stations and restaurants on the evacuation route begin to close because they have to evacuate too.

    when it first looks like a hurricane is threatening the panhandle, I fill my car with gas and get cash from the bank. I gather together any important papers I need to take with me. I make sure all my prescriptions are ready to go. When I had babies, I made sure I had plenty of diapers, wipes, and clean clothes and formula for them. Often a hurricane goes somewhere else, and there is no need to leave, but you always have to be prepared for it to happen.

  4. rose says

    excellent advise jill! thanks for posting… we got to know our neighbors too… and yes we all look out for one another…
    they know my hubby is disabled and watch our when all the cars are gone… and we do the same too…

    yes thanks for posting this timely advice! 😀

  5. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Thank you for writing this. My brother in law advised me to store dog food in the car for emergcies because no one will eat a dog burger unless they are really hungry.

  6. says

    I just read in the paper that a few hundred people were left homeless due to a fire in a condominium.
    That is terrible for the residents but what struck me was this comment from one of the victims.

    “The good news is, we have insurance but all our stuff is gone, our computer, papers, pictures — we have to start our lives over again.”

    Now I know this thread is about emergencies due to weather or other emergencies but here is what I would suggest.

    Take pictures and personal papers and put them in a safe place. Maybe at a relatives home or safe deposit box. That way you have not lost them when you really need them.
    Put pictures on discs and store them the same place. Memories are important.
    Invest in a fire proof lock box and keep it someplace that you will be able to find it in the after math of a fire. Wills, marriage and birth certificates should be kept safe and insurance papers and home ownership should all be together.

    My husband always says. “Plan for the worst but pray for the best.” What better way to plan than keeping papers safe and secure.

  7. mary says

    Knowing your neighbors is important and rewarding. We make ourselves known to new neighbors as soon as they move in. I usually take flowers from our garden or a plant I’ve started on a first visit. Some recent new neighbors had power go out in the middle of the summer. Because they knew us and felt we were friends, they didn’t hesitate to ask if they could run an extension cord from our house to keep their refrigerator running. Of course, we were glad to help.

  8. susan says

    Hi Jill

    great advise as always. One thing my hubby and I did was to put our orignial important papers in our bank safety deposit box, and we keep copies in water proof bags along with our emergency supply of water and non pershiable food and I have dog food also. I got lucky a few years ago and found some spill proof childrens bowels with lids at a yard sale. I think I gave about 50 cents for all four and I added those to my emercency supply also. I think these bowls were made in the late 70’s. although my daughter is grown I thought these were unique and may come in handy. I also have an old but workable thermos bottle that I have added. As far as cash we put away some small bills just in case we would need it.

  9. Benny Souza says

    Excellent article, as always! I would add a couple of recommendations:
    1. Define the easiest way out from home (front door, back door, garage door). In emergency situations, people tend to panic and run around with no proper direction. Remember you may have to leave in the middle of the night and small children and elderly may be confused.
    2. Assign specific responsibilities to family members in terms of who carries what from that list you suggest.
    3. Rehearse the plan with all family every six months.

  10. Paula says

    God Bless ALL of you as you embark into a NEW home!! May the blessings of God overtake you for all the GREAT work you do!! Safe journey and God speed!!! Enjoy!!!

  11. Debra says

    I want to start off with telling you how wonderful your site is!!! Also, I am praying for you and your family during your move.

    I just finished reading your emergency article and how to be prepared, I wanted to add one thing. A couple of years ago I had my home burn down, luckly we had not been there since we had moved. However, it got me to really thinking about what would happen if my house burned down and I was not there to grab the important documents and keepsakes. Well, to be honest there is nothing we can do to stop a fire or natural disaster and we pray they will not happen to us. But when they do happen we need to be prepared. I have at our local bank a safety deposit box that cost me $25/yr and in that box I have put all of my ‘important’ papers. I figure that the box is safer then anything I could ever have at home, heck it has withstood the elements for over 100 years now. I make a copy of the document for my home records and file the original in the bank. Now, if a fire or other natural disaster occurs at my home I have one less thing to worry about.

    When I was starting this project I took a hard look at the information that I had at hand and asked myself several questions. 1) Is this ‘truely’ important? 2)Can it be replaced without a real bother? 3)Will it cost me money to replace this? 4)Remember girl, you only have a $25 box at the bank (lol). I filed birth/marriage certificates and those types of documents but I also filed warranties and guarantees to equipment/household items so that I have ready access to it. Each document is filed in a labled #10 envelope with contents writen on it and I have a list at home also of what is in the box. I pray I only have to go to the box because I lost my copy and not to replace anything, for that security of mind I will spend the $25.00/year.

  12. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    I live in Annpolis MD where we don’t have hurricanes. Until recently. The tv said those in Annapolis take cover now. I went to the downstairs powder room and stayed there until the hurricane watch was over. I wondered if I were too conservative. I looked it up and saw that I should have been in the basement. And indeeed I was to stay sheltered for several hours ntil after the watch passed. If you aren’t sure what to do, LOOK THESE SITUATIONS UP NOW. You certainly don’t want to be on line when a twister or flood hits.

    • says

      Good advice. One thing for here in tornado land we go to the basement but I try to find a place like a closet or space under a stair case. Houses can collapse in on the basement but if you will notice in the pictures the staircase is usually left standing. That and closets have extra support.

      Plus be sure to have some place or thing to protect from flying objects. That is what causes more damage.

  13. Angela says

    One thing I will add to the discussion is with children 12, 10 and 7, we gave them permission, in the case of a house fire, to break out their bedroom windows if necessary to escape. We took it a step further an went thru their rooms choosing what would be heavy enough to complete the task. Blanket to safely get out of the window and where they would end up in the yard when they got out of the house. I feared for panic to set in during an emergency and needed them to feel empowered to be able to help themselves if necessary.

  14. Mary Jane says

    In our part of Canada the greatest threat we face most often from the weather is power outages during cold winter weather. We have always had a wood stove for heat. Heat is our biggest concern. One winter, when my children were small, just before Christmas, the power went out at minus 40 degrees, and stayed out for 9 hours. We were fine. We cook on a propane stove, so we always have that as well. No electricity means no water pump for the house, so in the last few years, my husband hooked up a good old fashioned hand pump, to use in such emergencies. After closing and opening a series of valves, and throwing electric breakers, we can pump water for drinking, and flushing toilets. A lot of people own portable generators for such emergencies, but a person must know how to use them safely, to protect yourselves, and in some cases, the electrical wiring in your home. we always have a store of candles, and coal oil lamps for light. Because we live in the country, like our neighbours, we almost always have a several week stash of extra food in freezers, cans or dehydrated. In other emergencies, I would have to agree that the best defense is a friendly, familiar set of neighbours. There was a once-in-a-hundred-year flood here a few years back. Local emergency response people could do little for us rural people, as the village was flooded, and the roads were cut off. How can I forget neighbours calling (until the phones and power lines died), stopping by, lending/borrowing equipment, and taking turns patrolling the neighbourhood all night long, as the flood waters rose? Where one person still had clean water, another offered up high and dry places to sleep for the night. I have often thought that if I had to evacuate quickly, after checking on neighbours, the thing that I would take is the top drawer of a filing cabinet. It contains all of our important papers, is easy to get to, and would fit easily in the car.

    • says

      Top drawer of a file cabinet is s good idea. I have a small portable file box that has a handle on it and when we get a tornado warning I can easily pick it up and take it to my basement closet with me. Don’t for get to keep things like your address book in there too. If you have any small business at home it would be good to have a list of your customers in there too.

      One thing too speaking of tornadoes make sure your neighbors or family know which part of the house you will head too in case of a storm so they will have an idea of where to start looking for you to help you out.

  15. says

    Amy tornado season isn’t past yet here in Kansas I’m afraid. May and June are the 2 worst months for them and we are under a watch for them tonight but at the rate things have been going they seem to be getting a mind of their own and are striking any where and anytime now.

    One positive thing about living in Kansas is we know what to watch for, do and expect for tornados and have lots of sirens. I feel so bad for those parts of the country that aren’t use to having them and don’t have good sirens for warnings.


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