How To :: Prepping Your Family For Emergency Situations


With the aftermath of the largest and most expensive natural disaster in full swing on the Texas coast, it gets me thinking about how I can help.  Our own Krystal Hurst of Dallas Moms Blog posted a great article here about things you can do to help around town. That can be found here.

After the twins and I went shopping for personal hygiene items that we donated to a reliable center, I started to think about what *we* would do in the event of an emergency.  Sure, we don’t live on the coast or even in a flood plain.  It would take an end of the world event for our house to flood.  But in North Texas, we get tornadoes and sleet and snow which cause power outages which are enough to make this momma want a plan.  Anyone else remember being iced in for days when Dallas hosted the Superbowl a few years ago?  It was like Elsa was SO mad at us!!

There are some items to consider when stocking your house for the upcoming winter.  Sure.  You need diapers or wipes for the kids.  Probably water.  Definitely wine.  But do you have enough for a week or more?  I’m talking about stored items and not groceries in current rotation.  There are a lot of comprehensive lists online for prepping for emergency management.  I don’t pretend to have it all organized, but there are some basic items that I have in excess all year.  That way when we get stuck, we will be slightly more prepared.  Because not much else sounds worse to me than grumpy kids, no food or water, and not enough supplies to go around if we are stuck in one spot or if we have to quickly evacuate our home.

Here are some of the main items I have on my list in case of emergency:

Bottled water, nuts, granola bars, basic canned goods (with a hand-held opener), flashlights, batteries, a small radio, toilet paper, paper towels, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer, trash or shopping bags to dispose of icky things, a small first aid kit including a week of any medications that need to be regularly taken, a small tool kit with can openers, blankets and a change of clothes for each family member in the home, candles and matches or a lighter, and a few extra blue tarps for around the house.  I also have a baggie of copies of important documents for our family and home.

Firewood and starter logs stored for winter.

I have to be honest.  I also have wine and a wine opener.  Crayons and books or small puzzles are also easy.  You know all those party favors that get ignored after goodie bags?  Those are great toys for emergency kits.  Our house doesn’t have gas.  At all.  So when the power goes, so does the heat.  I store a lot of starter logs and winter wood to burn in the fireplace in the event we are stuck at home without power.  Don’t think these items will be easy to find the day before a storm.  Plan ahead and have some of these supplies around so that when everyone rushes out to buy them, you are already set up.  Plan for unique things in your own home (like no gas or swimming pools) and have all adults be aware of the emergency plan. 


Try to rotate items out regularly.  So when a season changes, we use our emergency stock and I grocery shop to replace what has been used.  That way, my family always has access to fresh goods if something goes wrong.  I also keep seasonally appropriate clothes aside for my family so those need to be rotated a few times a year.  The best part is a lot of these items can be picked up at Dollar Tree or similar stores.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money on emergency supplies.  When our family went to pick up supplies for Hurricane Harvey evacuees, a little money went a long way at Dollar Tree.

Our money went a long way at Dollar Tree for basic hygiene supplies.

If you are super serious about prepping for an emergency, FEMA is a good resource for looking into items to have on hand.  (Although, personally I think they are lacking in the wine department.)

Each home should have a kit set aside bagged or boxed and ready to take with you.  Here is a good example of kit inventory.  Most experts suggest you have a 3 day supply of non-perishable food for everyone in your home in the event of an emergency.

No matter the caliber of emergency, always remember to factor in pets and their needs and medications for anyone who regularly relies on them.  I also think it’s great to check in on neighbors and be sure to offer them support.  Our iced-in Superbowl week was exciting for my cul de sac, but we all got together, made sure we were warm and bathed, and that everyone had enough food and water.   Because that is what Texans are all about.

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Jennifer has been married to John, an FPGA designer, for ~12 years and is mom to fraternal, twin boys, Jace and Jett (age 7). Originally from the San Antonio, TX area, Jennifer graduated twice from the University of North Texas and has a M.S. in Criminal Justice. A work from home mom, Jennifer has been a Medicolegal Death Investigator for over a decade. With previous work as a Field Agent at local county Medical Examiner’s offices, Jennifer left the traditional workforce when her twins were born. She currently works for the first accredited, private forensics lab in the nation and can do a great deal of work after typical work hours. A flexible work schedule allows Jennifer to home school her twins, who are heading in to second grade, and run them to martial arts. Hobbies include binge watching superhero shows like Smallville, Gotham and The Flash (Hello?! A Forensic Scientist by day and a Superhero by night?! That’s my life!) and making cool, homemade costumes for her kids to play Star Wars or Transformers. Jennifer loves all things comic book related and adores horror and zombie films. She can’t decide if she loves coffee, margaritas or Daryl Dixon more. Although she loves being a boymom, Jennifer can’t wait until she can get nights out with her girlfriends to check out fun Plano area restaurants or get out to Target to shop by herself.


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