Because Solo Moms need to be ready for ANYTHING!
One thing that I’ve never given much thought to as a Solo Mom until recently is being prepared for natural disasters. My idea of natural-disaster planning was to keep the pantry stocked with easy-to-cook food and extra water, ziplock bags of filtered water in the freezer, and the tank full in our car. And then our family went through an actual natural disaster, and I realized exactly how wrong (and how lucky) I was in terms of being prepared.
I was lucky because our family happened to live on a military base, so during this whole situation, we had generators (provided by the base) that ran for as long as possible each evening into the morning. It kept us from being in the dark and also kept food spoilage to a minimum, since we had packed our fridge with ice during the day. But through it all, I learned there were a lot of things I could have done better to help keep my family safe and informed. Should another natural disaster occur, keep the following tips in mind.
Invest in an NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio. I never realized how much we needed a weather radio until we really needed one. If you live in an area that is a cell phone–reception dead zone and you connect to the Internet over WiFi often, you need a weather or battery-operated radio because, otherwise, you will be at the mercy of your neighbors or friends when it comes to getting information about the storm. If you do live in an area with good cell-phone reception, you should still consider picking up a radio if you don’t have one because storms will often knock out the cell-phone towers, disrupting service for a period of time.
Consider buying camping or grilling equipment. If you have an electric stove, you need to think about how you would cook your food if the electricity went out. An easy solution is to pick up a camping stove or a grill, which use bottles of propane or charcoal. It’s also a good idea to keep extra propane or charcoal on hand.
Have solar-powered and backup chargers handy. In the event of a natural disaster, your cell phone will likely have to work harder to get that much-needed signal for you to be able to text or call family and friends to let them know you’re OK and/or to pass on important information. Because the battery will be draining faster, you’ll want extra battery packs on hand or a solar-powered charger so that you can recharge your phone easily.
Stockpile water sooner rather than later. We never expected our power to go out, let alone being without water in our home, but it happened—and boy were we unprepared! We had to hurry and go buy a few cases of water, but ideally, you should always have at least one gallon of water per person, per day, for at least three days stocked in your pantry because you never know when a disaster could strike.
Keep nonperishable food in your pantry. Many families do not have a lot of nonperishable food stocked in their pantries, especially since eating clean has become quite popular and discourages eating processed or canned food. But keep some canned options along with protein bars and other oatmeal and breakfast-type bars around just in case you’re ever in a situation in which you can’t cook.
Some other things you’ll want to have on hand. Other supplies you should have on hand are your medications, a first-aid kit, and extra supplies if you have a baby. For children, you may want to write your name and contact information on their bodies with a permanent marker, just in case you become separated from them, and have bike helmets on hand, which are helpful during a tornado.
Camping supplies, such as flashlights, sleeping bags, extra batteries, and extra clothes for everyone, are also essential. Have a fireproof and waterproof lockbox to protect your important information, such as medical and immunization records, Social Security cards, and other records that would be hard to replace. Also keep an inventory of the important and expensive items that you own, which you can store in a lockbox or take a video of them and put it on a flash drive.
You may also want to practice emergency safety drills with your children so that everyone knows what to do and where to go in the event of a disaster. Putting together a travel first-aid and emergency kit is also a good idea, in case you’re ever on the road when a disaster strikes. It can be as simple as keeping a case of water, extra blankets, flashlights, and some nonperishable food items in your car with a first-aid kit.
In addition to keeping these items stocked, I want to stress how important it is for us as Solo Moms to have homeowners and property insurance. Renters or homeowners insurance is usually pretty affordable and can be instrumental in helping you rebuild your life if you do become a victim of a natural disaster. If you rent, the insurance policy that your landlord has on the property will not cover your personal items, and a policy can also be helpful if someone steals from you or if a fire occurs in the home.
For Solo Moms, so much falls on our shoulders in our day-to-day responsibilities, and when it comes to our children’s safety, there’s no exception. By following these tips, you can rest assured that if a natural disaster occurs, you’ve prepared in advance and have everything on hand that you’ll need to protect your family.
Tara Glenn is a Solo Mom of four who currently resides in Pensacola, Florida. She has a background in public affairs, writing, and photography. Tara spent five years in the Navy and now volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol as a public affairs officer. She enjoys working with small businesses as a ghostwriter as well as encouraging her children’s love for aviation in her free time—the running joke being that she only creates pilots, as all of her children love to fly!
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