Bugging Out and Bundling Up: What Your Family Needs to Know When Disaster Strikes

This summer brought West Virginia a number of uncommon weather occurrences, including a vicious storm that left much of the state without power during a wave of intense heat.  Families panicked as gas stations ran out of fuel and grocers sold out of ice and other supplies.  This September is National Preparedness Month and the beginning of the chilly season in West Virginia, so The Miley Legal Group has gathered some vital information for keeping your family safe and ready.

Get Informed  Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency will save you time, resources, and stress should disaster strike.  Make sure not to neglect reading up on and preparing for emergencies that are not common to your area, as these, which may take residents off-guard, will be particularly devastating.

Plan for the Worst  Develop a plan with your family and stick to it.  What will you do if the kids are at school and you are at work?  If one of you is traveling?  If phone lines are disabled?  In drawing up your plan, make sure you take into account things like communication, safe places, pets, medications, and any other special needs that must be addressed.

Prepare a “Bug-Out-Bag”  A bug-out-bag will be your supply kit for emergency situation.  As the name suggests, it should be portable in case you are required to evacuate with your family, though it will contain many (if not all) of the same items that a home emergency kit might include. You can easily find packing lists for yours on the internet, but few of the highlights include a three-day supply of food and water (at least a gallon per person, per day), a battery or hand crank-powered radio, a first aid kit, flash lights, and a cell phone.  For a complete list, we recommend you visit www.ready.gov, a website from FEMA and a great source of information for all kinds of emergency preparation.    

Stay Prepared  Once you formulate a plan and pack your bug-out-bag, it’s important that you don’t simply move it to the back of your mind and forget it.  Periodically check your bug-out-bag or home kit to be sure that the water is relatively fresh and supplies are in good working order.  If you have a generator, be sure to follow directions in the owner’s manual for care and maintenance and never store it for any length of time without removing the fuel from the fuel tank.

We all hope to never need these tips, but if this summer has taught us anything, it’s that bad things can and do happen.  When they do, you want to make sure that your family is prepared.  Remember, it is better to take your time planning and preparing than to make large expenditures on things you don’t need; preparation should not cause you undue stress, but give you peace of mind in knowing that your family is ready for whatever it may face.

The Miley Legal Group compiled this information largely from FEMA, but there is much more to be found.  Visit www.ready.gov or www.ready.wv.gov for more information.

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