Hurricane season is right around the corner, tornado season is here, we’ve seen spring flooding in the Midwest, and last winter’s ice storms and blizzards are fast becoming a memory. In the event of a weather-related emergency, are you prepared? Could you live without convenient access to food, water, electricity, gasoline, and other necessities for a few days?

Regardless of where you live, what kind of weather you have, or how populated your local area is, the time may, and most likely will, come when you don’t have basic services. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not as easy as you think to drive for a couple of days, or even a week or more, without a certain amount of advance preparation.

While there are some excellent “survival kits” available at many online (and offline) retailers, there are also other preparations you need to make to survive safely and comfortably:

Do you have an emergency cash fund? Is it safely stored, but where you can quickly access it in a pinch? In a world where most of us don’t even carry cash anymore, having an emergency stash of real cash (in smaller bills) somewhere in your home may seem unnecessary, however, in the event that your area local be without power for some time. of time, this emergency cash will be your only way to purchase any kind of goods or services. Without electricity, there will be no way to access credit card processors, financial institutions, or your local ATM, and while your local grocery store or gas station may have a generator and reopen fairly quickly, chances are the Cash is the only form of payment accepted until full power is restored.

Do you know where to cut off electricity, water, gas, etc. for your house or apartment? Otherwise, you must immediately locate and learn to operate each and every lock on your home. In any kind of weather-related (or otherwise) emergency, you might have a pipe burst and need to turn off the water, or have an electrical short and need to close the circuit, or worse. Knowing where these valves and lock boxes are located and how to operate them can mean the difference between minimizing damage and losing your entire home.

How much gasoline is in your car? Do you regularly use gases? If so, you may not be able to leave your immediate area, should the need arise. In the event of a power outage, many gas stations will be closed, or even if they are open, there will be long lines or shortages will set in quickly, as others that also have empty tanks are trying to fill up their vehicles. Although it requires a little more attention on your part, it’s much better to have at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle at all times than to have none at the time you really need it.

How much bottled water do you have on hand? How many canned goods are in your pantry? Even with your survival kit, you should always have at least a case or two of bottled water and a few days’ worth of food stored in your home, more so if there are multiple people in your family. Especially during weather-related emergencies when basic public services are interrupted, having enough food and water on hand is absolutely vital to your survival.

Do you take prescription medications that are vital to your survival? And, if so, do you fill the prescription a week in advance or do you wait until the last day’s dose until you make a trip to your local pharmacy? What if your pharmacy was closed for a few days and you had no way to get those medications? If your answer to that question means serious illness or even death, then you need to rethink your prescription refill habits and have that week’s worth of pills on hand at all times.

While there are literally dozens of things every individual, every family, needs to consider in the event of an emergency, here are five of the most basic needs you’ll encounter during a short-term or long-term outage and need to be aware of. prepared for these five regardless of season, location, or living arrangements. Emergencies can and do happen every day, and unless you’ve taken some steps to deal with those emergencies, you can quickly find yourself in the dark, cold, or worse.

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