How to Have An Emergency Preparedness Plan: When SHTF

September 6, 2017

Are you prepared for an emergency? Do have what it takes to ride out the storm? The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the blazing fires in Montana reminds everyone we are not protected no matter where we live. With that being said we need to be prepared for any natural disaster that Mother Nature hands us. So what do we do when SHTF?

I broke down different disasters and how to prepare for them.



Plan for Evacuation:

Have a plan to evacuate. This includes the route of evacuation and the time it takes to evacuate. Go on a good day and take that route and see how long it will take. Have more than one route in mind in case of heavy traffic. Leave when your local officials tell you to. Do not wait for the last-minute. Gather essentials you would need to leave.

  • Water
  • Clothing
  • Pets
  • Copies of documents
  • Emergency kit
  • Prescription medication (30 days worth)

Supplies on Hand:

Make sure you have enough supplies on hand for yourself and your family. Especially if you decide to stay or can not leave. Do not wait until the last-minute to buy your supplies. There will be a crowd and many items will be gone. Living in the South we get a pamphlet in the mail before hurricane season starts. This is a great time to stock up on supplies beforehand. Even if you don’t use it that year many supplies last years. You can also be prepared for the following year and always add to what you already have. Here is a list of things you will need.

  • Water (enough water for your family that can last 3-4 days)
  • Emergency kit
  • 3-4 days worth of food
  • Batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9 volts)
  • Flashlight
  • Candles
  • Waterproof matches
  • Battery operated radio
  • Shelter (tarp or tent)
  • Dry blankets
  • Hand warmers
  • Rain jackets/ponchos
  • Can opener
  • Propane
  • Propane Stove
  • Pet food
  • Generator
  • Extra Gas
  • Whistle
  • Enough medication (refill any prescriptions early)

Prepare House:

It is essential to prepare your home for a hurricane. The goal is to have the minimal damage possible. In doing so there is prep work that goes into it.

  • Insurance: Make sure your homeowner policies are up-to-date. Also, make sure you have flood insurance as well. This includes rental insurance.
  • Doors and windows: Secure all doors and windows. Adding steel shutters to windows can prevent any debris from entering
  • Sandbags: Sandbags can be used to set up a perimeter around your home or any walkway such as doors or garages. Done properly this can slow down the rate of flooding.
  • Take photos: Go room to room and take photos of all your belongings for insurance purposes. This will give value to when you need to make a claim.
  • Make copies of all important documents.
  • Maintain yard which includes trimming trees and brushes.
  • Store any outdoor items. This will also protect your home and others. Do not want flying debris.



Wildfires are unexpected natural disasters that can devastate thousands of acres of land and property. Many wildfires are extremely dangerous and can cause landslides and mudslides. Unlike hurricanes, wildfires can occur anywhere and at any time. Wildfires can be caused by lightning, campfires, cigarettes, and outdoor fires. Here is how you plan on wildfires.

Evacuation Plan:

Have more than one evacuation route as fires can spread and jump. Knowing which way to leave is very important. Smoke can be present so be careful while driving. Watch out for wild animals fleeing.

  • Clothes
  • Water
  • Food
  • Animals
  • Extra Gas
  • Prescription medication
  • Any valuable items such as photos
  • Copies of important documents

Home Protection:

Ensure your homeowner’s insurance is up-to-date. To reduce damage to property. Ensure house has fire-resistant materials during construction or surrounding area. In case you have to leave or become strained in your home. Here is a checklist.

  • Turn on all lights in each room so the house can be visible to see in smoke.
  • Close all windows and doors
  • Disconnect automatic garage door so you can open it manually if needed
  • Move any flammable furniture, curtains, and items to the center of the room.
  • Ensure outdoor water hose is connected
  • Close air vents to prevent smoke from entering home
  • Fill tub and sinks with water

Fire Prevention:

We all know who Smoky the Bear is. Right? The cute lovable bear that teaches us how to prevent forest fires. Will prevention is key. Unlike many other natural disasters. Many wildfires are caused by humans. With that being said. Here is a list of ways to prevent fires.

  • Dispose of any charcoal or ash properly.
  • Do not leave any fire unattended
  • Storage flammable materials in proper containers away from home
  • Never park in tall, dry grass
  • Keep grills or propane tanks at least 15 feet away from any structures
  • Do not use unauthorized tools to create a spark to start a fire (welding tools etc)

Want more information about fire prevention



Tornadoes are so unpredictable as they can come out of nowhere. These storms leave no time for planning as you must think quick on your feet. However, that doesn’t mean you can not be ready. Like wildfires, tornadoes can happen anywhere at anytime. Therefore you must have the ability to think quickly. So making sure you have the ability access to local weather channel updates. Here is a checklist needed for tornadoes.

  • Listen to local weather stations and alarm systems in your area
  • Take cover in a safe room, shelter, or sturdy building
  • Have an emergency kit

Although tornadoes are unpredictable there are warning signs you can use to help prepare you.

  • Dark almost greenish sky
  • Large, low cloud
  • Loud sound that sounds like a train

Know the terms:

Tornado watch:

A possible tornado in the area. Stayed tuned for further information.

Tornado Warning:

A tornado has been spotted. Take shelter immediately.

During Tornado:


  • Move away from doors or windows
  • Hide in small interior space, such as hallway or bathroom
  • Get under anything that is sturdy like a table or desk if possible
  • Do not open windows

Schools, Nursing homes, malls, any other large structure buildings:

  • Move away from doors and windows
  • Move to smaller interior space or FEMA approved shelter (basements, closets, and hallways)
  • Get under anything sturdy if possible
  • Never open windows

Mobile Homes or Manufactured Homes:

  • Leave immediately and take shelter in sturdy building or storm shelter

Outside with no shelter:

  • If in-vehicle drive to the closest sturdy building or storm shelter
  • In vehicle make sure it is stationary, put on seatbelt and cover head
  • Do not go under overpass or bridge. Stay in low flat area
  • Never try to outrun a tornado

Winter Storms:

Last but not least is winter storms. In the last couple years, winter storms have become more powerful causing the loss of power in many areas. It is always best to prepare ahead of time before Jack frost comes into town. To stay safe and prepared here is a list.

  • Have a family evacuation plan and a line of communication with family
  • Have an emergency kit
  • Blankets
  • Space heater
  • Candles
  • Flashlight
  • Warm clothing
  • Water supply
  • Food supply
  • Batteries
  • Battery operated radio

Prepare Home:

  • Make sure home is well insulated (doors, windows, insulation)
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Keep space heater safety in mind

Prepare Vehicle:

  • Have car always full of gas
  • Maintain car (breaks, fluids check regularly)
  • Have rock salt
  • Store emergency kit, extra blankets, and clothes

During Storm:

  • Keep dry
  • Stay inside if possible
  • Wear several layers of clothes if you have to go outside
  • Do walk safely (snow might cover ice)
  • Don’t overwork when shoveling

It is always a good idea to be prepared than not. Having a plan in mind no matter the situation at hand. There are still basic rules or guides to follow no matter the disaster you might face. Here is a list of a few of them that can be applied to any situation.

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, gas, propane, or charcoal inside home, garage, or basement
  • Watch out for carbon monoxide, electric shock, or fires
  • Install fire and carbon monoxide alarms in the house
  • Keep a fire extinguisher
  • Have a family plan
  • Make an emergency kit

Grab your free emergency kit checklist here.

If you have any ideas on any natural disaster that I didn’t mention. Please feel free to comment below. Looking for websites to aid you.

National Weather Service


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