9 Emergency Preparedness Best Practices To Implement This Year



  • Being in the know about these risks allows you to tailor your preparedness strategies accordingly, so you don’t find yourself packing snow boots when what you really need is a life jacket.
  • In moments like these, every second counts, and having a plan can make the difference between chaos and calm.
  • Water – a minimum of one gallon daily per individual, for a duration of no less than three days.

Why is being ready for emergencies so critical? Imagine being caught in a snowstorm, and the power goes out. Or a wildfire is spreading rapidly toward your neighborhood. In moments like these, every second counts, and having a plan can make the difference between chaos and calm. Being prepared can not only save your belongings, but more importantly, it can save lives.

  • Understand The Risks

First things first: what kind of emergencies might one face? Knowing this is the cornerstone of any preparedness plan. Take New Zealand as an example. Living in this stunning country, residents need to be mindful of earthquakes, as it’s part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

But earthquakes aren’t the only thing on the menu; you’ve also got to think about volcanic eruptions, floods, and even tsunamis. Being in the know about these risks allows you to tailor your preparedness strategies accordingly, so you don’t find yourself packing snow boots when what you really need is a life jacket.

So, how can you arm yourself with this knowledge? Your best bet is to tap into the resources provided by government agencies and expert organizations. For instance, New Zealand’s Civil Defence website is an absolute goldmine of information on natural disasters common to the area.

You can also find alerts and advice on how to prepare for each type of emergency. Moreover, don’t underestimate the power of community wisdom; your neighbors and local community groups are fountains of firsthand experience and knowledge.

  • Create A Family Emergency Plan

Imagine this: there’s a sudden evacuation order due to a flood. You’re at work, your kids are at school, and your spouse is at home. What do you do? This is where a family emergency plan comes in handy. Having a concrete plan ensures that each family member knows what to do, who to contact, and where to meet. It’s like having a roadmap in the labyrinth of an emergency.

Start by identifying safe spots in your home for different types of emergencies. Next, choose two meeting places: one near your home and another outside your neighborhood. Then, jot down important contact numbers and make sure everyone has a copy. Don’t forget to include any specific needs, like medications or supplies for pets.

  • Assemble An Emergency Kit

Wondering what to pack in your kit? Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Water – a minimum of one gallon daily per individual, for a duration of no less than three days
  • Non-perishable food – consider including items such as canned goods, dried fruits, and nuts
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit essentials – like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, scissors, tweezers, and pain relievers
  • Personal hygiene items – such as soap, hand sanitizer, and moist towelettes
  • Local maps
  • Multi-tool or Swiss Army knife
  • Cash in small denominations
  • Copies of personal documents (ID, insurance policies, bank account records)

Remember, one size doesn’t fit all. Maybe you have an infant and need to pack baby formula. Or perhaps someone in your family requires prescription medication. Customize your first aid kit essentials according to your family’s unique needs. If you have pets, don’t forget to create a smaller kit for them too.

  • Keep Communications Ready

In an emergency, your phone is like your best friend. Keep it charged and have a backup power source, like a portable charger. But don’t put all your eggs in one basket—consider having an old-fashioned landline, as they often work even when the power’s out. Walkie-talkies can also be a nifty addition for communicating over short distances.

Establish a family communication plan. Choose an out-of-town contact that everyone can call to check-in. Make sure each family member has a list of important phone numbers. Discuss how you will contact each other and where you will meet. There’s comfort in knowing that your loved ones are safe, and having a communication plan makes that possible.

  • Secure Your Home

Next on the list: fortify your home. Strengthen doors with deadbolts and sturdy frames. Secure windows with storm shutters or plywood. Don’t forget about the garage—it can be a weak point, so make sure it’s reinforced.

How about playing the long game? Consider making structural modifications to your home for added security. For example, if you’re in an area prone to earthquakes, anchoring your house to its foundation could be a game-changer. Or, if hurricanes are your main concern, installing hurricane straps can help keep your roof attached. A little investment today can save you a world of trouble tomorrow.

  • Know Your Evacuation Routes

Knowing your local evacuation routes and shelters is like having a GPS for emergencies. Take some time to study local maps, and make a note of the quickest and safest ways out of your area. Knowledge of the local shelters can also be a real lifesaver, literally.

Here’s something you might not have considered: how will you get to safety? If you own a car, that’s great—but always have a backup plan. What if the roads are impassable or your car isn’t available? Consider alternatives like bicycles, or know the local public transportation options if they are still operational. Flexibility could be your greatest asset in an evacuation.

  • Get Involved In Community Preparedness

Ever heard the saying, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work?’ Well, in emergencies, teamwork can make a huge difference. Communities that band together are more resilient. Neighbors can pool resources, share information, and provide help to those who need it.

Look into joining local community emergency response teams or neighborhood watch groups. These groups are usually trained to deal with various types of emergencies and can be a crucial support network. Plus, you’ll make friends and build a sense of community, which is always a win.

  • Maintain Emergency Savings

During an emergency, having a financial cushion can be as important as having a physical one. From buying supplies to repairing property damage, emergencies often come with a price tag. And don’t forget about the stress that financial worries can add to an already tense situation.

How can you build that cushion? Start small. Even saving a few dollars a week can add up over time. Automate your savings if you can—out of sight, out of mind, right? Think of it as paying your future self for peace of mind.

Having a reliable insurance plan is also important. Look into different types of insurance policies that are relevant to the emergencies common in your area. Flood insurance, for instance, is a good start if you live in a flood-prone zone. Talk to an insurance agent to find the best options for your situation.

  • Stay Informed And Continuously Update Your Plan

As times change, so do potential threats. Whether it’s new developments in earthquake hazards or a change in local weather patterns, staying current is key. Keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest information helps you make informed decisions in a crunch.

Set a date, maybe every six months, to review and update your family emergency plan and emergency kit. Maybe your family’s dietary needs have changed, or someone developed a new medical condition. Your plan needs to evolve with you. It’s also wise to check expiration dates on food and replace any used or outdated items in your emergency kit.

Lastly, there are a plethora of apps and services that provide real-time updates on weather, traffic, and local emergencies. Sign up for alerts from trusted sources, and you’ll always be in the know.


Emergency preparedness is not just a personal endeavor; it’s a community effort. When you look out for each other and work together, you are building a stronger and more resilient community. Don’t put it off till tomorrow; emergencies don’t send calendar invites. Take the initiative to protect yourself and your loved ones by implementing these best practices.


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