I am not prepared!
Have you mentally screamed this at least once in the last month? Look around realising you’re missing everything necessary to have your shit together in the event of an outbreak or natural disaster.
Oh, and . . . it’s already started!
The new Coronavirus outbreak originating in Wuhan, China, reminded me that my household was woefully unprepared.
Even though I should know better.
Growing up Caribbean means you know all about hurricane preparedness before you’re in double digits. Still I seldom did the steps when I started living on my own. Didn’t do it in England, and now in Belgium it was shaping up to be the same.
Being reminded spurred me into action. I sat my boyfriend down, paced, and outlined all the things we needed to get. Not just because of the Coronavirus threat, but because anything could happen.
So how do you prepare for an outbreak/disaster that’s already started?
-> You + Listing All Needed Items + Not Freaking Out + Immediately Taking Action = Preparing For An In-Progress Outbreak/Disaster <-
This system works even if you’re on a tight budget. It doesn’t require doomsday level prepping, and you won’t need to pull all your hair out to decide on next moves.
-> The Process <-
Difficulty Level: Medium
- Step 1: Make a list of anything you can think of that you may need. You can also choose to check online checklists for outbreak/disaster preparedness (if the electricity’s still on that is). If not, (and phone lines are up) try calling organisations or emergency services help lines to get an idea of what you might need.
- Step 2: If you live alone you can get started on the list. If not, have a discussion with those you live with. Not everyone may be onboard, so you’ll have to explain why preparation is important. If you still meet resistance, carry on with your list and don’t be thwarted, this could save/help you, or someone you love.
- Step 3: Take a good look around your home first. Could be you already have items on the list you forgot about.
- Step 4: Before buying, consider other items on the list you may have easy access to and can get without having to spend (family, friends, neighbours, work, etc). Think about it, not only is this good for budgeting, but if the outbreak/disaster is in-progress, you might not be able to buy the items you need.
- Step 5: If you already have some items on the list, pack a bag (per person in your home if possible), with these items.
- Step 6: If you can still purchase items, start ticking off the ones that are left. Anything you can’t get stores, head online. For example, because of the virus, medical masks have been selling out all over the place, in multiple countries. We ended up buying them on Amazon.
- Step 7: If you’re unable to get every item on your list – don’t freak out. Just by preparing a little, you’re doing more for you and your loved ones than you may think. Be calm, and depending on how the situation improves/spirals, you may be able to get more items over time, from different sources.
- Step 8: Remember the bag(s) you started packing? Finish up with those items that are for individual use specifically (toilet paper, sanitary napkins, water, etc). This gives you equal provision shares.
- Step 9: If you have a vehicle, pack that with provisions too. If not, don’t worry. Chances are if things get really bad, your vehicle will only take you so far anyway.
- Step 10: Know where you need to go if you have to leave your home. Have a map of the area you’re in, have backup plans if you can’t get to your first choice shelter/hospital/police station, etc.
This sounds like something out of an end-of-the-world TV show. It’s a lot to take in, especially if you haven’t done it before, or even thought about outbreak/disaster preparedness.
And, when the situation (hopefully) improves, don’t let up on your preparations. Keep doing the little things that make huge differences.
Stock up on canned foods and other non-perishable items. Get as many bottles of water as you can and consider other liquids like milk, juices, etc.
On the right is a sample of our stock. See the full list.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can still prepare. For example, in Barbados we didn’t really buy bottled water (as cases are pricey). Instead, we’d fill buckets, soda bottles, etc, with water.
Real Simple has a detailed list of non-perishable foods.
Even if the outbreak or disaster has already started, there’s action you can take to be better prepared. You just have to start 🙂.
Have outbreak/disaster preparation tips?
Comment below :).