There are several stories in the news this week about the number of natural disasters which seem to be increasing here in the US. Earthquakes in Tennessee felt across the region, a huge quake in Alaska a few weeks ago, and, of course, the recent massive wild fires that decimated entire towns in California all give the impression that natural disasters are on the rise.

While some new events like the Tennessee quakes may be something we haven't heard about in recent years with the last quake to hit the area being 40 years ago, all of these events happen frequently. Toss in hurricanes and weather events like large winter storms that knock out power and impede travel for days and the need to be prepared becomes clear. But what does being prepared look like?

Google 'how to prepare for a disaster' and you'll get a staggering 28,200,000 search results. If you are just starting to think about emergency preparedness for your family the thought of trying to pick out what's going to work for you with that much presented information can easily lead to paralysis through analysis. That's when someone becomes so overwhelmed with data that they just give up. In the case of emergency prep, that can lead to a disastrous result. Honestly, it's not hard and with a little planning you can have a great emergency plan in place that you can rely on.

Start with a quick risk assessment. What are the likely scenarios where you live? Are you in hurricane country? Is winter weather something that can bog you down and close stores? Are you in a wildfire area or are other circumstances possible requiring you to hold up in you home for several days or even evacuate your home for an extended time (that could be a flooded basement from a broken pump)? 

With an honest risk assessment done, look at what you have on hand. How long will the food in your freezers and pantry's last? Can you cook those items without power? If the power goes out can you stay warm?  Do you have a good medical kit and supplies on hand?  If you have to evacuate, do you have those critical items ready to go you'll need and does everyone in the family know where to find them. Things like important papers and meds someone requires are things you'll need readily available to grab and go with little warning.

The great thing about emergency prep is getting ready for what is likely prepares you for many of those scenarios that are unlikely. A good plan for food, water, shelter, and security for a large snow storm gives you those things you'll need to mitigate the bad effects of a more rare disaster.

However, don't wait to start planing and just as importantly start implementing those plans. As many aren't overly wealthy, start with a few extra things with each trip to the store and build up continuously. Before long you'll have a great prep stash. The one truth in all of this is if a crisis happens, it's not going to wait on you to get ready.

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