Emergency Preparedness: Review the Contents of Your Disaster Bin

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2013-08-25 15.53.42What is a disaster bin? My husband coined this phrase in 2008 when our area experienced a 500-year flood. Although our home never got flooded, we were certainly affected since at that time both of us had to cross the river to get to our respective jobs, and many of the major roadways in, out, and around town were closed. Fear ran rampant in our area. With the flood being so bad that our water treatment plant was near being flooded and rendered useless, we knew then that it was time for us to make some preparations for the worst.

So we prepared our disaster bin. We made a list of everything that we might need to survive for three days, found a plastic bin that would be easy to grab and go, and put all of the stuff in there. Then we made a plan – where would we go if we were separated? If we had time and space to take more than what was just in our disaster bin what would we take? Our camping gear seemed like the best bet. We prepared a new system for our camping gear, including lists of what was in our camping bins and what we would take on the way out that wasn’t already packed (like our current appropriate outer gear, boots, etc), so we could easily grab what we needed and go. And what about our cats? We included the equipment (and the location of such) we would need to take our cats with us on the list.

What you need to put in your own disaster bin will vary by location and by your own special needs. Find some good direction on creating your own plan at http://www.ready.gov/.

Don’t forget to review your bin contents annually. We did our review recently and discovered some of the items in the first aid kit, and some of the emergency food supplies had past their expiration dates and needed to be replaced. We also discovered some of the batteries were not charged and needed to be replaced. Disaster bin functionality is only as good as its contents, so be sure to review it and your emergency plan with your family or housemates regularly and make changes and upgrades as necessary.

Do you have a disaster bin? Do you have a plan for leaving your home should the need arise? If not, start planning today, you never know when you might need to leave your home unexpectedly.

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  • Great tips – especially the reminder to make sure the contents of the bin are still good!

  • Tracy

    Thanks, Janet, it was a good reminder for us that you selected the topic of Emergency Preparedness this month – August or September is usually when we do our review!

  • Rose Hawley

    We ordered water in foil packets that is good for 5 years to go in our kit. Just having the box of water is strange but makes me feel like we are better prepared.

  • TracyKPierce

    Your topic came at a great time – we usually do a recheck in Aug or Sept, so thanks for the reminder!

  • TracyKPierce

    Water is definitely a great place to start!

  • Pj Van Hulle

    Wow! This is SUCH a good idea! This is one of those things that doesn’t seem important until you need it. Thanks for the heads up!

  • TracyKPierce

    Exactly, PJ – we didn’t take the initiative to do it until it was the threat was very real for us, I think most people do this, it’s easier to not think about it and think it won’t happen to us.

  • TrudyScottNutritionist

    I don’t have a disaster bin but am now motivated to get one! thanks!

  • TracyKPierce

    You’re welcome Trudy, thanks for sharing!

  • Miranda Zukowski

    I can’t believe you wrote this- I was just thinking about this in the past week! One of my friends has a disaster bag and was telling me about it. I keep putting off making my own, but thanks to you, I am re-motivated! We have a lot of crazy stuff happen around here. Last year after Hurricane Sandy we were out of power for TWO WEEKS! Luckily, I had an apt in NYC that still had power so we stayed there, but if I didn’t have that (and I don’t now), we would have been in trouble. Hurricane season is just around the corner…

  • TracyKPierce

    My brother-in-law lives in the NYC area and was affected (mostly because of his job) by the hurricane last year, too. Glad to hear you’re finding some motivation to put your own kit/bag/bin together, never know when it might come in handy!