Editor's note: This article was originally published on Anita Fowler's website, Live Like You Are Rich. It has been modified and republished here with permission.
Earlier this year, my sister's town, Moapa Valley, Nevada was on a high flood alert. Homes were flooded, the power went out, people were stranded in or out of their homes, kids were stranded at schools and had to spend the night there, and many people abandoned their vehicles to get to safety.
I was really worried about her and my grandparents who live down there. Luckily, we were able to reach them via text and cell and they informed us that the flood waters were coming fast but were not immediately near their homes.
However, there was a threat that if a nearby old dam broke then a very large part of the valley could be flooded even more severely and they possibly could be flooded out as well. They and many others were blessed that the dam held … at least so far and we are praying that it continues to hold.
I've been contemplating what I would do if I had to abandon my vehicle and get to safety, if I had to abandon my home because the flood waters were rising too high or perhaps if I was stranded and couldn't leave work. A huge peace of mind came over me when I realized that I would have my 72-hour kit on me in all of these instances. Our family 72-hour kit has almost everything we would need to survive for up to three days without shelter, food or water. I keep one in each of our vehicles so that no matter where we are, my husband and I both have access to emergency and survival supplies.
Although my sister and her family had their shelter, they still did use many items out of their 72-hour kit. They used their flashlights and long-lasting candles when the power went out. They made and ate canned foods and food that didn't have to be cooked. For dinner, their neighbors invited them over for some food they prepared on their propane grill. She is now grateful they have water storage because many water lines have broken and they are not sure if they will have running water.
When I talked to her more in detail, she told of friends and family who have had their homes severely flooded, who had their vehicles washed away, who were stranded away from family, etc. It was very saddening. Luckily, everyone she knows is safe.
I spent hours and hours researching what we would need in our 72-hour kits, our car emergency kit and our baby/toddler 72-hour kit. I share the experiences we have had when we have unexpectedly needed and used these survival kits here. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a very detailed list of items to include in your own 72-hour kits, elderly kit (if applicable) and baby/toddler kit (if applicable). Please take a minute to review these items.
2- Clean water
Often water lines break or water sources become contaminated in natural disasters. Having one 55-gallon drum barrel for every two people is very smart!
3- Food storage
More information on food storage and how much to have can be found here.
4- A way to cook your food without electricity i.e. a fire, a propane grill or a wood stove.
5- If you have a car it is also very important to try to keep your gas tanks full or at least half full or more of gas.
There are many reasons for this. A full tank can get to someplace safe (typically), keep you warm or cool, the fuel can be siphoned out for a fire, and come in handy in other ways as well. The morning after the flood, there were long lines at the gas stations of people trying to get fuel in their tanks.
6- Further she stressed that it is very important to have a way to stay warm, such as a generator, fire or propane stove.
It is so important to be prepared and cautious! You never know what could happen.
In my area, we have experienced a huge amount of rain and torrential downpours. Although, we are far from experiencing flooding on the scale my sister saw, I have been monitoring our home very closely. We have an outside basement staircase and landing with a drain inside it. There is only about a 3-inch clearance from the basement landing and our door. Earlier, the water almost came up to the door line. I cleared as much debris as I could from the drain and am monitoring the drain and water level closely. If needed I will use buckets or pots and pans to keep the water from coming up to our door line.
Recently I watched a documentary on how to stay alive in different life threatening situations. I learned A LOT. So in addition to having these supplies, it is also a great idea to have a survival book or have watched and learned about how to survive in different life threatening situations.
If you live in a flood prone area, having a water pump and actively watching the water levels around your home, in your window wells, drains, etc., is also very important. If they rise too high, you can prevent water from coming into your home by using a pump, buckets, pots, etc.
If you live in an earthquake prone area, check out this post on how to prepare for an earthquake. If you live in other areas that are prone to certain natural disasters: volcanic eruptions, avalanches, landslides, tsunami's, tornadoes, etc. read up on what the best ways to plan and prepare are.
Anita is a resourceful wife, mother, author, and friend. She writes about a variety of ways to create a rich life (both materially and non-materially) on any income on her blog Live Like You Are Rich. She is also the co-author of "Living a Rich Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom."