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Disaster can strike suddenly and without prior warning. Because of this it is important to plan ahead. Think of a scenario where basic services such as water, gas, phone lines and electricity were cut off. Do you know what you would do?

There are four basic steps to preparing a disaster plan in case your family is forced to live off the grid for a time.

1. Prepare for Most Likely Disasters for You

Learn about the risks that are most likely to affect you and your family in the community you live in. Are you more likely to experience an earthquake, a tornado or a fire? Knowing the threats that most likely pose a risk in your region is an important step of disaster planning.

2. Create Family Disaster Plan

Get the family together and discuss what to do in the case of a disaster and what you will need to prepare for one. Explain the hazards of severe weather, fire and natural disasters to children. Work together as a team to delegate different responsibilities to different members of the family.

Make a plan that takes into account the disasters that are most likely to occur in your area based on the previous step.

3. Create Checklists

Create a checklist that ensures all the important steps of the family disaster plan get followed through on. Post emergency numbers such as for the fire and police department. Instruct the family about how, when and where to turn off various utilities through main switches and valves. Keep proper tools and equipment needed near important valves in case of the need for emergency shut off. Check your insurance coverage to make sure it’s adequate. Plan home escape routes and find the safe place in your home or property that you should go to in different types of emergencies.

4. Rain Harvesting

If there happens to be a disaster where you’re without food and water for a long period of time, there is special prep that you can do. Food storage is a growing industry and there are several resources for information on how to start food storage for you and your family. Water can also become sparse, so looking into concepts like rain harvesting would also be a good idea.  There are companies like: Liquivault that provide tanks that can store water underground and keep it safe from contamination.

5. Practice Your Plan

Every six months or so quiz your children on the emergency plan to keep it fresh. Remind them what to do in the event of an emergency, where to meet, phone numbers and safety rules. At least twice a year conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills. Create a map for evacuation routes which you keep in the disaster supplies kit, and replace stored food every six months.

Follow these steps of preparedness in order to ensure your family can sustain an disaster.