Disaster Preparedness: Planning Ahead

Planning Ahead

Master Disaster Checklist

If you want to keep your property, family, pets, and business safe during natural disasters, it’s important to be prepared. This master checklist gives you a good foundation for what to do, what to have, and what to plan for.

  • Secure Contact Information: Make sure you have a printed out copy as the power may be out and you might not have access to your computer or documents. Include names and telephone numbers, as well as out-of-town friends or family who might be able to help you. It’s important to have an out-of-town friend listed because your friends who live in your town might not be able to help you if a disaster affected them, too. Additionally, prearrange a nearby meet-up place after the emergency. It could be the local high school, a relative’s home, or a grocery store.
  • Have a Plan: Make sure that all of your family knows about your disaster plan (escape routes, where the emergency kit is stored, who to contact, and what to do in case of a natural disaster).
    • Identify a Safe Room: Point out which room is the safest room in your home. This should be an interior room without windows, if possible (maybe a closet or a bathroom). This is the place your family should seek shelter when storm warnings are issued.
  • Stay Informed: Make sure that you have a portable radio with fully charged batteries so that you can get the latest up-to-date information about the disaster. If you are in the path of the disaster, go to your pre-designated shelter area immediately.
  • Take Photos/Video of Your Property: If you have an inventory of your valuables and possessions you are likely to be able to claim up to 20% more insurance than if you don’t. Taking photos and videos with your cell phone is an easy way to document your items. Be sure to upload all the images to secure cloud backup and not just store on your property.
  • Charge Electronic Devices: During a disaster, you may lose power. Ensure your cell phone is fully charged, along with other electronic devices like tablets and laptop computers. Also, think about purchasing a solar-powered backup charging device.
  • Get Cash: When the power goes out, ATM machines won’t work. Get plenty of one dollar bills because not many people will have change for twenty and hundred dollar bills. Try to aim for ones, fives, and tens.
  • Fill Up on Gas: Fill your gas tank. When the power goes out, gas pumps won’t work.
  • Disaster Supplies Kit: A disaster supplies kit is essential to keeping you and your family safe. It should include non-perishable food, water, medical supplies, clothes, pet food and supplies, medications, batteries, flashlights, etc. Consider the following list: 
    • Flashlight
    • Batteries
    • First Aid Kits: For $20, you can have medical supply basics — all in one place — and ready to use. Minor as well as major injuries are possible during an earthquake and it’s possible that emergency services will be overwhelmed, so having a first aid kit is essential.
    • Solar Cell Phone Charger: Solar powered charges start in the mid-$20 range and go up from there. The best selling Amazon solar charger is $60 and is fast with “industrial-strength PET polymer faced solar panels sewn into a rugged polyester canvas offer weather-resistant outdoor durability.” If the power goes out, you might have no other way to charge your phone.
    • Crank-Powered Radio: You can pay upwards of $100 for a decent crank radio, but you don’t have to spend that much. The best-selling Amazon crank radio is only $20!
    • Emergency Water Filter: There’s no need for an expensive filtration system. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has 5,000 reviews and is only $20! The LifeStraw “removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns; surpasses EPA filter standards.”
    • Bottled Water (minimum of three gallons for each member of your family)
    • Battery-Powered Radio
    • Battery-Powered Lantern
    • Emergency Food Supply
    • Can Opener
    • Basic Tools (utility knife, pliers, wrench, tape, compass)
    • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, toilet paper)
    • Pencils and Paper
    • Pet Supplies (food, litter)
    • Rain Gear
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Change of Clothes
    • Plastic Garbage Bags
    • Face Masks
    • Gloves
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Cleaning Wipes
  • Have a “Go Bag”: Having an emergency bag packed with essentials (food, clothes, toiletries, cash, etc.) can save you time in a crisis. P.S. A little bit of toilet paper goes a long way…
  • Gather Your Important Papers: Keep all special papers and photographs in a watertight container or plastic bag. You know, all of those important things like bank account papers, birth certificates, property deeds, medical cards, social security cards, etc. as well as photos and important keepsakes which can never be replaced. During a disaster, they could all be ruined and washed away forever in one whoosh!
    • Identification (copy of driver’s license or passport)
    • Insurance Policies
    • Birth Certificates
    • Marriage Certificates
    • Proof of Residence (copy of lease, mortgage documents)
    • Deeds or Wills
    • Tax Returns
    • Social Security Cards
  • Plan for Your Pets: Many hotels and motels won’t accommodate your pets, so if your plan is to evacuate to a hotel, then you’ll need to find them a safe boarding kennels or cattery which is outside of the disaster’s impact zone. Be sure you have plenty of your pet’s preferred food and whatever medications they might need.
  • Refill Your Medications: Make sure that you have plenty of your prescription medicines on hand. If a disaster hits your area, the last thing you want to worry about is a medical emergency. 
  • Disaster Insurance: Check your insurance coverage as part of your disaster preparedness plan. Many home insurance policies do not cover hazards like flooding caused by hurricanes, for example. If you live in a disaster-prone area, consider getting insurance to cover damages.
  • Have a Plan for After the Disaster: After a disaster, get out of town until emergency services and law enforcement have gotten control of the situation. Unfortunately, like many other disaster situations, there are people who will try to take advantage of the chaos. It’s best to avoid being in the disaster zone until things are under control.

Planning Ahead for Disasters

Planning ahead and preparing for a disaster can really help to reduce the impact that a natural disaster has on your home, your family, your business, and your life as a whole! If you plan before the storm clouds begin to gather overhead or the rivers start rising you will have a much better chance of minimizing the potential damages and saving the lives of your family.

Disaster preparedness plans vary a little depending on the types of disaster which are most likely in your area, although some of the basics are very much the same.

To help keep your family safe during a disaster, consider purchasing the following items:

Safety Item

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The Lifestraw Water Filter is highly effective in removing harmful bacteria and parasites from water. Its microfiltration membrane eliminates 99.99% of waterborne bacteria, such as E. Coli and Salmonella, as well as 99.99% of waterborne parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Safety Item

Raynic 5000 Weather Radio

This weather radio is equipped with 5 different power sources, making it the ideal choice during prolonged power outages. The hand crank, solar panel, and AC power options make it easy to keep the radio running.

Recharge Electronics

Feeke Solar Charger Power Bank

This power bank has a large cell capacity of 36800mAh, which is made possible by the use of industry-leading high-density lithium polymer cells. It is compact and has a high-quality, high-density battery that can support thousands of charge cycles.

Disaster Preparedness – Planning Ahead

  • Basic Disaster Supplies Kit: You’re going to want to have a basic disaster supply kit that has the basics for food, water, first aid supplies, and more.
      • Food and Water (non-perishable food and plenty of drinking water)
      • Important documents (insurance information, identification, birth certificates, social security cards, deeds)
      • Cash (ATMs don’t always function after a disaster)
      • Disaster Kit (blankets, flashlights, medication, weather radio, clothing)
      • First Aid Kit
  • Flood Disaster PreparednessMany low-lying areas are flood prone, especially during a hurricane or tropical storm.
      • Disaster Supplies Kit
      • Turn off utilities, but be sure not to touch electrical equipment if you are standing in water or wet.
      • Avoid trying to drive through flooded areas.
      • Remember that floodwaters may be contaminated with dangerous pathogens so avoid contact with floodwaters.
  • Tornado Disaster Preparedness: Tornadoes are some of the most violent and destructive natural disasters out there.
      • Shelter in the lowest area of your home like a cellar or basement. If that’s not possible, shelter in an inside room which has no windows and strong interior walls.
      • If you are in a mobile home, you need to leave immediately and head for the closest sturdy building. Mobile homes are NOT safe during even the weakest tornadoes.
      • Hide beneath something sturdy — a table, workbench, desk — just something to protect you from falling objects.
      • Protect your head and neck with your arms. Use a heavy blanket for extra protection for yourself and your family.
      • Never attempt to out-drive a tornado. Tornadoes can change direction very quickly and lift your vehicle, throwing it high into the air! Leave your car and take shelter in a sturdy building or lie flat in the lowest area around.
  • Family Disaster PreparednessIn order to make sure your family stays safe, you have to speak with them and come up with an evacuation plan, a shelter-in-place plan, and any other necessary plan for the disasters that might strike your area.
      • Talk to your family and create a family plan about what to do if a disaster strikes. Ensure that the children know where to go in case of a disaster.
      • List emergency telephone numbers and keep them handy for all members of the family.
      • Identify someone out-of-state who can be your point of contact in case the disaster strikes when you are separated from your family.
      • Identify a meeting place where you and your family can be re-united (if possible) if a disaster strikes and you have to leave your home or otherwise get separated.


Weather Radio
Emergency Crank Weather Radio
9.2/10 Our Score

This emergency weather radio is a must-have for any emergency situation. It not only receives the latest emergency weather forecasts from NOAA and AM/FM stations, but also has a 2000mAh battery that can provide emergency power to small tablets or phones. The bright LED flashlight and reading lamp can light up your surroundings, and the SOS alarm, external antenna, comfortable hand crank, and tap switch meet all your emergency needs.

The 2000mAh power bank ensures you never lose contact with the outside world. With four ways to power, including USB cable, hand crank, solar panel, and AAA batteries, you’ll never run out of electricity.

This emergency radio also has two light sources, a 4 LED reading lamp and 1W LED flashlight, to provide timely help in the dark. The SOS function can also sound a loud siren and flashing light to draw attention and get help quickly.

This product has an 18-month warranty and 24/7 customer service. If you’re not satisfied, they’ll provide a solution immediately. Don’t hesitate to purchase this reliable and essential emergency weather radio.