There are many emergency supply checklists available over the internet and yes even via link through this site (see Basic Disaster Supplies List under Links.) Those are very good and a great starting place. However, they are general lists in the sense that they don’t reflect your specific needs. That can only come from you.
To tailor these lists or simply build one yourself, ask yourself:
Today, if some outside event was to occur requiring me to evacuate my home, what means do I have to minimize the impact on myself and family? For example, this could be because of a storm, earthquake, fire, or simply a police cordon.
Since the nature of the event is unknown, we must simply deal with what you would need in most situations; shelter, food, medicine, transportation, cash on hand, etc.
If you had to evacuate immediately, what would you need to evacuate effectively and setup your life at a new location. Make a quick list. Your list could look similar to this one:
- Ready cash; enough to get me to a place outside the area and where my access to cash via ATMs or the like are available;
- Adequate supply of medications I’m taking; phone number of doctor or pharmacist to help if I need more while I’m away, or can’t return to home before evacuating;
- Where will we go; hotel?, campground?, family that lives out of the area?
- Food; will I have to buy everything or do I have an emergency food storage supply I can throw in my car to support us all for a few days at least;
- Do I have space in my vehicle to include everything I’m taking. How much fuel is in my vehicles? What if I can’t get any additional fuel until I’m out of the area? Maybe keep my tank no lower than 1/2 full routinely.
- How will I contact those evacuating with me if we aren’t all together (school, work, etc?)
- technology needs? (especially if you use computers to run the family or business, e.g. access to online accounts;)
- Important papers, passports, certificates, insurance policies;
- and so on….
For each item on your list, come up with a plan or alternative source. Some items on your list may not be that critical and you can decide now that that wouldn’t be an issue.
Additionally, you could add a column to your list, consider:
- How long it would take you to pull things together and minimize that time by packaging items together now. Thereby some things would be ready to go right away (e.g. important papers, food supply, etc.)
- What if you had no time at all and couldn’t return home?
- Would it matter what season it was? Would your needs change based on season?
How does that change your planning? It’s good to look at these things ahead of time, not to frighten ourselves or to get all chicken little, but to avoid having to panic should you be faced with an evacuation situation.
I started with a quick list: cash (I wouldn’t need to rely on ATMs initially), food (prepackaged and ready to go like these food storage options), important papers (all in one place to grab and go), shelter (tent large enough for family with a plan to call hotels for reservation away from area), water and any medications, communications (chargers for electronics (e.g. phones)), fuel (minimum half a tank of gas) in transportation I plan to use.
Keep the list along with your planning notes. Shop for needed items now and refer to your plan when the time comes and rest knowing you’re as ready as you can be.
Having completed all of the above, go back to your daily routine and rest, ready.
Readiness is about being able to wait.