How to know if Your Emergency Preparedness Plan is a Dud

Last month, my family had an emergency preparedness test run. For three days, we pretended that we had no electricity, natural gas, or running water and that we could not go to the grocery store, bank or gas station. We do this every so often, so we can find the flaws are in our emergency preparedness planning.

These test runs have helped us in numerous ways. We’ve practiced using the supplies that we have; so when a real natural disaster occurs, we aren’t wasting time learning to use items we aren’t familiar with.

We’ve also discovered that some ideas we thought would be really great were actually duds. As Mark Twain said, “The tragedy of today is the comedy of tomorrow.” Many of those “dud” ideas are now some of our family’s favorite funny stories.

One of the new additions to our personal emergency supplies is the Humless Sentinel Solar Generator. This is now on our “we can’t live without it” list! The Humless kept our refrigerator running the entire three days, making our preparedness test so much easier. Ice cream is a wonderful comfort food during an emergency!

We know that not everyone is up to conducting an emergency preparedness test run. If you aren’t, we encourage you to use the following Emergency Preparedness Quiz to help you identify any weaknesses in your family’s emergency plan. A few minutes spent today will mean peace of mind for your family tomorrow.

Emergency Preparedness Quiz

1. Has your family rehearsed fire escape routes from your home?
2. Does your family know what to do before, during, and after an earthquake, natural disaster or other emergency situation?
3. Do you have heavy objects hanging over beds that could fall during an earthquake?
4. Do you have access to a working flashlight in every occupied bedroom? Do you have extra batteries if the flashlights are battery-operated?
5. Do you keep shoes near your bed to protect your feet against broken glass?
6. If a water line was ruptured during a natural disaster, do you know how to shut off the main water line to your house? Can this water valve be turned off by hand without the use of a tool? Do you have a tool if one is needed?
7. Do you know where the main gas shut-off valve to your house is located? If you smell gas, do you know how to shut-off this value? Gas valves usually cannot be turned off by hand. Do you have a gas shut-off tool stored near the valve?
8. Would you be able to safely restart your furnace when gas is safely available?
9. Do you have working smoke alarms in the proper places to warn you of fire?
10. In case of a minor fire, do you have a fire extinguisher that you know how to use?
11. Do you have duplicate keys and copies of important insurance and other papers stored away from your home?
12. Do you have a functional emergency radio to receive emergency information? Do you have extra batteries if your radio is battery-operated?
13. If your family had to evacuate your home, have you identified a meeting place?
14. If an emergency lasted for three days (72 hours) before help was available to you and your family:
• Would you have enough food?
• Would you have the means to cook that food without gas and electricity?
• Would you have enough water for drinking, cooking, and sanitary needs
• Do you have access to a 72 hour emergency kit?
• Would you be able to carry or transport those kits?
• Have you established an out-of-state contact that everyone in your family knows how to contact?
• Do you have first aid kits in your home and in each car?
• Do you have work gloves and some tools for minor rescue and clean up?
• Do you have emergency cash on hand? (During emergencies and especially during power outages, banks may be closed and ATMs nonfunctioning.)
• Without electricity and gas, do you have a way to heat at least part of your home?
• If you need medications, do you have a month’s supply on hand?
• Do you have a plan for toilet facilities if there is an extended water shortage?

These are all questions that need answers if you and your loved ones are to be safe in an emergency. If you answered “No” to any of them, it’s time to work on getting those items done. Start today!

Visit us at for all your emergency preparedness needs.

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