Published December 27, 2021

Evaluate Your Preparedness 

Written by
Charlene Nelson
| The Dakotan

It's the end of the year and a good time to evaluate how prepared you are and maybe start considering if or how you want to be more prepared in the year to come. Start by taking this self-evaluation quiz:  

General Preparedness 
Do you have a family Emergency Plan? If there were a fire or tornado, do you and all members of your household know how to respond? This is the most important thing you can do to be prepared for disasters. An in-your-head-we've-talked-about-it plan doesn't count; it needs to be written down. 5 points  

If you and your family have done a practice run (similar to a fire drill) with your Emergency Plan, give yourself an extra 3 points.  

Do you have a bug-out bag? This is a small bag with the essentials you need in the first 3 minutes of an emergency. 3 points 

Do you have a 72-hour kit? This is a backpack-sized kit with the food, toiletries, and other supplies you need to see you through a 3-day emergency that requires you to leave your home. 3 points 

Do your children know when and how to make a call to 911? 1 point 

Have you taken certified training in CPR and First Aid? No shortcuts. When the need arises, you won't be able to turn to YouTube. 2 points 

Do you have working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors? These simple devices are relatively inexpensive and can literally save lives. A carbon monoxide detector is especially important if you will be using kerosene heaters or generators during a power outage. 2 points.  

Have you talked to your neighbors about being prepared for disasters? You and your neighbors should be ready to work together in the case of an emergency. You should also be aware of vulnerable neighbors who may need help if there is a crisis in your neighborhood. 3 points  

Power Outage 
Winter storms and power outages are one of the most common things we deal with in North Dakota. A power outage is always inconvenient, but in winter time it can be dangerous. How ready are you?  

Do you have chargers for your phone and other electronics? 1 point 

Do you have an alternate heat source—something like a kerosene heater or wood burning stove? During the winter, keeping warm will be vital. This is especially important if you have small children or anyone with a compromising medical condition. Before using any carbon-fueled heating device, make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working. 3 points 

Do you have an alternate light source, such as lanterns, flashlights or candles? 3 points 

Do you have a three-day supply of easy-to-heat meals? During a power outage, hot meals will go a long way to relieving stress. However, the food needs to be easy to heat with whatever alternate heating or power sources you've planned for. 2 points 

What plans have you made for keeping refrigerated food and medicine safe? 1 point 

Do you have a generator? A generator might not be worthwhile for those who move frequently or live in an apartment building. But it may be vital for others: for example, if you have a freezer filled with food, a sump pump that runs frequently or those with medical equipment. 2 points. 

If you know all the safety protocols for using a generator, give yourself an extra point. If you have it all prepped and ready to run, you get another point.  

Flood and Tornado 

Floods and tornadoes are the next most common disasters we face in North Dakota. These types of disaster cause lots of property damage but more importantly, can be fatal for those who are not prepared. What does it take to be ready?  
Do you have a designated safe room to stay during a tornado? 1 point 

Do you have an evacuation plan if floods take your house? 1 point  

Do you have a sump pump? If you live in an area with any history of flooding you should have a pump. Don't wait till a flood is predicted, because all the sump pumps will be sold out by then. 2 points.  

If your pump is gas powered so that it will run when the power goes out, you get an extra point.  

What kind of plans have you made for all your important documents and pictures? You should have backups of any documents you will need to reference after property loss. And of course, some family pictures are irreplaceable. Make photocopies of things like insurance policies, deeds to house and car, divorce decrees, driver's license and banking information. Keep the copies in a safe place off your property. Or make electronic copies that you store online in the Cloud. 1 point  

Are you ready for the process of filing claims in the event of property loss? You can make this process easier if you have a thorough inventory of your household belongings. Go through the house with a camera and document all your important belongings. Include manuals, model numbers and receipts if you have them. Store this information online in the Cloud or on a flash drive that you store off the property. 1 point  

Do you know where the emergency shut offs in your house are for water, gas, and electricity? 1 point 

Do you have access to emergency communication? Install the NOAA Radio app on your phone or have an Emergency Radio (hand, solar or battery powered) so that you can be up to date on weather conditions. 1 point.  

Train derailment 

**Updated, Dec. 30, to clarify some information**

Do you know what to do if there is a train derailment nearby? Most of what you need for a train derailment has already been covered: a bug out bag, a 72-hour kit, and a family emergency plan. You should also have a ‘shelter-in-place’ plan with plastic and duct tape to seal windows and doors against toxic fumes. An N-95 mask will help protect from smoke of burning oil.

No Water or Contaminated Water 

Water is something we take for granted. We turn on the faucet and it's always there, crystal clear and refreshing. But there are many reasons you may face a water crisis: A power outage means pumps and lift stations don't work. A breach in the water purification plant may compromise the water. If a winter storm is in the forecast, you might be prepared for a water shortage caused by a power outage. But most water shortages come with no warning at all.  

Do you have a water filter that will remove bacterial and chemical contaminants? 2 points 

Do you have a 3-day supply of water stored? You should store 2 gallons of potable water per person per day. You'll also want another 1-2 gallons of non-potable water for hygiene. 2 points  

Tally up your points and grade yourself.  

41-50 points: You are good example for friends and family  
31-40 points: Good start! But there's room for improvement 
21-30 points: A few more steps and you'll be on your way 
11-20 points: Time to close the gaps in your preparedness  
<20 points: You should make preparedness a goal in 2022  

Now this list is pretty extensive, covering a whole range of emergencies and disasters. Maybe you have no reason to worry about floods or train derailments. But it's pretty certain that you do live in an area that is susceptible to natural and man-made disasters. So decide what the most important things are that you want to plan for. Use this quiz to help you focus on the areas you want to improve. 
Here's wishing you safety and readiness in the new year.  

If you don't have an Emergency Plan, download this free planning booklet and start making your plan today. 

More information on water storage: https://www.providenthomecompanion.com/store-water/ 
More information on bug-out bags: https://www.providenthomecompanion.com/ready-to-bug-out/ 
Email me your comments, questions, or suggestions: charlene@providenthomecompanion.com 
Stay connected to the latest news
Subscription Form (#3)

About the Author

Trending Now
The Dakotan Newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox
Newsletter Form (#4)
© AndMuse, LLC 2024 Login Email
LIVE: 2022 Minot Mayoral Forum
Click to Watch Live
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram