What 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.