2018 has brought us record-breaking temperatures, massive wildfires, dangerous hurricanes and everything in between.
So how do you make sure your family is prepared when disaster strikes?
It’s all about covering your basic needs — food, water, shelter, power, first aid and communications.
Depending on the kind of disaster, fresh food and drinkable water may be scarce, so it’s important to keep a small stash in your house.
Don’t go crazy building a bunker - unless that’s your thing - but do keep a couple jugs of bottled water, and some non-perishable foods around.
Tuna cans last for years, and things like peanut butter crackers and jerky are high-calorie foods that’ll last a long time, and fill you up.
Next up, shelter.
If a disaster is bad enough that you’re worried about your house blowing away, you probably shouldn’t be there to see it happen, but in smaller disasters you may need to cover a hole in your roof, or board up a broken window.
Keep supplies like a tarp, some duct tape, and some plywood around for emergencies.
You may also lose power too, so it’s a good idea to have enough flashlights for everybody in the family, batteries to power them, and even a small generator.
Be careful though — one major cause of death after disasters is carbon monoxide poisoning from people who bring generators indoors, and die from inhaling the exhaust fumes. So keep generators outside.
First aid is important too… In a major disaster, 911 service might not be readily available, so keep enough stuff around to treat cuts and scrapes, some antibiotic ointment, a few gauze pads for bleeding, and some tylenol or advil for minor injuries.
Also make sure you have enough of your prescription medications around in case pharmacies are closed for a few days.
Cell towers may be down, so know where to find a landline phone — maybe at a neighbors house if you don’t have one. Sometimes, even if you can’t call out, you can get short text messages to friends and family to let them know you’re safe, and get an emergency weather radio, so you can hear what’s going on.