Periodically, I like to perform what I call a “walk around” inventory. In the simplest of terms, what that means is that I walk around my home, garage and yard with an eye peeled to deficiencies that need to be corrected to insure my safety in the event of a natural disaster.
Here where I live, that primarily means an earthquake or winter storm but in fact, it could mean anything that disrupts a normal way of life.
In addition to my walkaround inventory, I go over my preparedness checklist so that I can re-familiarize myself with the things that need to be in place at all times – things that I may have allowed to go slack for one reason or another.
With hurricane season upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to uncork the preparedness test as a reminder that even though a it has been almost seven years since the last major hurricane in North America, we still need to be aware of the supplies and skills we need to have at hand to stay safe.
According to USA Today:
Six years, nine months and 30 days have passed since Hurricane Wilma came ashore with 125-mph winds near Naples, Fla. — the longest period the nation has gone without a hit from a major hurricane since the government began keeping records in 1851.
Whether you are a seasoned prepper, a newbie, or just a concerned citizen, I encourage you to take the Preparedness Tess this weekend and see just how ready – or not – your are for a disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane.
THE PREPAREDNESS TEST
1. Has your family rehearsed fire escape routes from your home?
2. Does your family know what to do before, during, and after an earthquake or other emergency situation?
3. Do you have heavy objects hanging over beds that can fall during an earthquake?
4. Do you have access to an operational flashlight in every occupied bedroom? (use of candles is not recommended unless you are sure there is no leaking gas)
5. Do you keep shoes near your bed to protect your feet against broken glass?
6. If a water line was ruptured during an earthquake or hurricane, do you know how to shut off the main water line to your house?
7. Can this water valve be turned off by hand without the use of a tool? Do you have a tool if one is needed?
8. Do you know where the main gas shut-off valve to your house is located?
9. If you smell gas, do you know how and would you be able to shut off this valve?
10. Gas valves usually cannot be turned off by hand. Is there a tool near your valve?
11. Would you be able to safely restart your furnace when gas is safely available?
12. Do you have working smoke alarms in the proper places to warn you of fire?
13. In case of a minor fire, do you have a fire extinguisher that you know how to use?
14. Do you have duplicate keys and copies of important insurance and other papers stored outside your home?
15. Do you have a functional emergency radio to receive emergency information?
16. If your family had to evacuate your home, have you identified a meeting place?
IF AN EMERGENCY LASTED FOR THREE DAYS ( 72 HOURS) BEFORE HELP WAS AVAILABLE TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY:
17. Would you have sufficient food?
18. Would you have the means to cook food without gas and electricity?
19. Would you have sufficient water for drinking, cooking, and sanitary needs?
20. Do you have access to a 72 hour evacuation kit?
21. Would you be able to carry or transport these kits?
22. Have you established an out-of-state contact?
23. Do you have a first aid kit in your home and in each car?
24. Do you have work gloves and some tools for minor rescue and clean up?
25. Do you have emergency cash on hand? (During emergencies banks and ATMs are closed)
26. Without electricity and gas do you have a way to heat at least part of your house?
27. If you need medications, do you have a month’s supply on hand?
28. Do you have a plan for toilet facilities if there is an extended water shortage?
29. Do you have a supply of food, clothing, and fuel where appropriate: For 6 months? For a year?
The Final Word
No matter how prepared you think you are, it seems as though there is always something new to do. Whether a new skill, some updated gear, or simply an update to your survival mindset, it is good to stay fresh and stay current.
Every time I take this test – which is about every 6 months – I come up with a new checklist of preps. After all, being prepared is a work in progress that will never end. With a fragile planet, a global financial mess and an ongoing threat of man-made, terrorist activities, this business of prepping is here to stay for a long, long time.
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Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, the SurvivalWoman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable, self-reliant and stylish lifestyle through emergency preparation and disaster planning through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. SurvivalWoman speaks her mind and delivers her message with optimism and grace, regardless of mayhem swirling around us.
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