Create an emergency preparation plan

by Tom Simplot

Jun 20, 2014

No one likes to think about surviving an emergency situation. But sometimes stuff happens: power outages, fires or even our own desert-style weather emergencies — monsoon storms, extreme heat and flash floods — that catapult us from our comfort zones.

Although planning for the worst may not sound like fun, you'll be glad you did.

Here are a few tips:

• Know the drill. Learn the emergency procedures for your apartment community; know all the stairwell locations and exits. Keep a fire extinguisher and a list of emergency phone numbers handy.

• Stock up. Keep an emergency supply of water and canned food. Aim for a three-day to two-week supply for each family member, including approximately one gallon of water per person (and pets), per day. Make sure you choose food that can be eaten without being heated.

• Create a family emergency plan. Develop a plan so every family member knows what to do.

• Secure important papers. Keep electronic or paper copies of important documents in a fireproof safe or safety-deposit box.

• Get insurance. If your stuff gets damaged, you'll be glad you invested in renters' insurance. Keep receipts and take pictures of valuables.

• Let there be light. Keep flashlights, batteries, candles and waterproof matches.

• Create an emergency-preparedness kit. Whether you are staying home or leaving your apartment during a crisis, pre-packaged emergency-preparedness kits are critical. You can find them online or at stores like Costco, or make your own. Visit ready.gov for more information.

• Prepare a first-aid kit. Include basic first-aid supplies, all of your family's medications and prescriptions and CPR instructions.

Remember to look out for elderly or ill neighbors, pets, or families with small children.