Emergency preparation doesnt have to be overwhelming or expensive, and frankly I dont care where you live, its something you need to do.
I grew up in the pacific northwest, which weather wise is pretty protected. We would get hit with north easters that could chill you to your bones, and there are some big squalls/thunderstorms from time to time but the biggest threat comes from the giant (did I say giant? I mean gigantic) fault line the NW sits on. As far as I know, we were not very prepared for this as a family. We had quite a bit of camping gear and the kitchen was never empty of food, but what do you do if the power is knocked out for 3, 5, 7, 11 days? Thats not hard to imagine. A simple winter storm could knock your power out. With single digit temps and no heat, how long could your family remain comfortable in your home?
Now that we live in Utah, the threats pretty much remain the same. Earthquakes are a real possibility, and although rare- Tornadoes have caused incredible damage in the state as well. Winters are harsh, and long term power outages are’nt impossible.
Food: Above you can see I suggest packing DRY soup mixes and dry food rations. There are a few reasons for that. #1, they are LIGHT. #2, they are AFFORDABLE, and #3 they taste great and dont take up as much space. Here in Utah we can buy the cans of freeze dried foods at many grocery stores, but it can easily be ordered online as well. We are NOT the people who have a years worth of food stored away, however I could sustain the house for 2 weeks at any given time, and I feel like thats really important.
Before an event: If you have time to prepare, fill your tanks with gas!
Establish an out of state contact: Have someone out of the area who wont be affected by the same event that everyone in the family can call and update on their status. What if something happens while your children are at school, you are at work, and your husband at a meeting? You can all call this number, and tell this person you are OK. Use this person to keep in touch when local phone lines are down, or cell phones arent working.
BATTERIES, FLASHLIGHTS, CANDLES, and a RADIO! Do not underestimate the power of light. When your whole city is out of power, the light from a flashlight can mean alot. Candles also can produce some heat- just use safely. Make sure you have extra batteries for your flashlights and your radio. A radio can be the most useful tool when your TV, internet, or cell phone are not working. Local radio can update you on safe evacuation routes, updates on the emergency, and so on.
Home inventory: walk your home and take a photo of each room. Document your valuables. In case of damage, flooding, looting, earthquake, tornado.. whatever the disaster, this will help you not only locate items but account for them. Take photos of the exterior of your home as well. Keep these with your insurance forms, this can help with your claims if need be when the time comes.
This of course isnt a complete list but its a start. With just $20 a month you could start building your kit and best yet, with good planning it can all fit in a tupperware (aside from the water) something you can literally just grab and go with. It takes some effort but its well worth it to know your family is well cared for in case of an emergency.