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Thinking about emergencies and disasters isn’t what most of us consider our idea of a good time. But the unfortunate truth is that these situations can happen to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. In most cases, there’s no way to prevent natural disasters or other emergencies. Still, you can certainly be prepared for them if they do happen.

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need a ton of special equipment or a specifically constructed underground bunker to prepare for a disaster. There are some basic steps you can take to ensure that you and your family will be safe in the event of the unthinkable.

Do Your Research

You should begin your emergency preparedness journey by researching what kinds of scenarios you might face. This is mainly determined by where you live. For example, if you live hundreds of miles from the ocean, you probably don’t need to spend much time preparing for a hurricane. But, if you live near a river, you might have to deal with flooding. Look back in time through the historical records to see what kinds of things can happen in your area and use that information to plan ahead.

Pack an Emergency Kit

The most common step people take toward making sure they’re ready for disaster is creating an emergency preparedness kit. This kit should include drinking water, nonperishable foods, a manual can opener, flashlight and batteries, a first-aid kit, a battery-powered radio, hygiene products, and local maps, to begin. Think about your situation and determine if there are additional needs, like baby food and diapers, medications, or pet supplies.

Make a Plan

Once you have your emergency kit set up, talk with your family about what to do in case of an emergency. Ensure that everyone knows the safest way out of your home or apartment building and establish options for safe meeting points outside of your home if you have to evacuate. Practice the evacuation plan, especially with children, and ensure they have memorized specific phone numbers and addresses where they can find safety.

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Get Notified

One of the best things you can do to look out for your family in an emergency is to find out early when a threat is coming. Sign up for alerts from local and national organizations that send out severe weather warnings or other concerning situations. If you receive an alert from one of these organizations, take it seriously and follow their guidance.

Get Your Home Ready

In addition to getting your family and emergency kit ready, you should work on getting your home prepared to withstand the damage that often comes with natural disasters. For example, if you live in an area prone to wildfire, spend some time clearing away brush and trimming trees. If you’re in earthquake territory, secure furniture like tall bookcases and keep heavy items closer to the floor so that you’re not in danger if something falls.

Check Your Finances

After ensuring that you and your family can remain safe and healthy in the event of a natural disaster, your next priority should be your finances. Establish a savings account for sustaining your family if you can’t work or if you have larger than average expenses because of a disaster. Make sure that your disaster preparedness kit also includes hard copies of insurance documents and other essential paperwork so you can still access these things without power. You might also consider tucking cash away in a safe, accessible place if it’s necessary.

No matter where you’re located or your situation, there’s always a possibility that a natural disaster could strike, putting your family and property at risk. You may not be able to prevent these things from happening, but you can do your best to keep your family safe with a few planning steps.