TW Viewpoint | Develop a Family Disaster Plan

August 26, 2022 | Javid Khan

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We've all seen news reports of a factory fire, train derailment, or truck crash spewing toxic smoke into the air, forcing nearby homes to be evacuated. Are you prepared for an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, ice storm, power outage, flood, or even a terrorist attack either forcing you out of your home or to remain at home without power or water? Take note of the recent crisis in Ukraine and how the lives of individuals have changed in a split second. Are you prepared? Do you have a family disaster plan?

It is important to use wisdom and do what we can ourselves. As Benjamin Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." Joe Namath said, "First, I prepare. Then I have faith." These sayings reflect wisdom and plain common sense.

So, how do we prepare for a disaster? What can we do? One suggestion is to access some helpful Internet websites, such as,, and, where you will find suggestions on how to develop a disaster plan for your family.

It is important to talk with members of your household about what to do in an emergency. How will you contact each other if separated? What are your emergency telephone numbers? Do you know first aid and CPR basics? In case of emergency, do you have essential water, food, basic first-aid supplies, some basic tools, clothing and bedding, and specialty items for children, the elderly, the disabled, and pets?

Emergency food should be non-perishable foods like canned fruits and veggies, protein bars, peanut butter, dry cereal, and other dry goods. You can also buy some freeze-dried, long-term storage foods in Metallyte or Mylar pouches, available at sporting stores, some retail grocery stores, and online.

Over time, you will need to recycle food and water with newer items, so you should mark dates on containers and update your kit as time passes or your household changes.

Keep emergency items in easy-to-carry containers, like plastic bins, backpacks, or duffel bags. These are "grab and go" items that can be kept in a designated place and quickly placed in your car.

Other items to include are things like a can opener, flashlight, batteries, masks, garbage bags, blankets, matches, and candles. Don't forget your medications. Keep your car gas tank full—when it is half full, it is time to fill up. And have some cash on hand, as ATMs might not be working.

You will think of other things to include, and it may seem a bit daunting to accomplish, but begin, and do something every week or month, and you will soon be ready.

John Wayne said, "Life's tough, and it's even tougher if you are stupid." It is better to be wise, so take reasonable precautions and prepare for tough times ahead. The days are becoming more and more lawless, dangerous, and disastrous as we see in the evening news. Be wise and develop your family disaster plan.

Adapted from "Develop a Family Disaster Plan" by Roger Meyer

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