5 Tips to Organize Emergency Supplies
Here are 5 tips to organize emergency supplies so you can be better prepared for next time. At the time of this article, we are under state-mandated social isolation orders. This is a great opportunity to get better prepared for next time. Let’s be honest here. When we found ourselves under quarantine, did you know where all your supplies were? If you found yourself lacking some supplies, this is the time to stock up. Read on and we’ll share some helpful organization tips so you know exactly where to find your supplies in the event of an emergency.
WHAT IF? What if we had a sudden and unexpected disaster such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone event? Would you know exactly where all your supplies are? Would you be searching for bins that had been put away a while back and then moved? Have some of your supplies been used but not replenished? It’s ok. It happens to the best of us.
Emergency Preparedness & Organization
Most CERT members simply refer to emergency preparedness rather than prepping. Probably to avoid the ‘kooky prepper’ stereotype we see on some tv shows. Personally, I wear the badge of ‘prepper’ with honor and I believe I’m probably better prepared than most. However, when I went in search of a stack of N95 masks, first I tore through my garage searching for my emergency bin. Over the past couple of years, building materials had been stacked up in the garage. I moved everything but never found my emergency bin. Next, I searched my house. Finally, I found the emergency bin in a storage room. Then I discovered that my “stack” of N95 masks was actually 1 mask. Better than nothing but not what I expected. Then I remembered I had an N95 mask in my CERT gear bag (in my vehicle) as well. All told, it took me a couple hours to find the N95 masks. What if I had needed them immediately?
I know I’m not alone. I’ve heard this from other preppers — people I admire and respect for their preparedness. They have virtually everything they need but it is spread out here and there and they just can’t find what they need at the time when they need it most. Things often get moved around over time and our memory fades. The fact is if you can’t find it, you’re not really as prepared as you might think. This is obviously more problematic if you find yourself in a sudden emergency situation and you can’t find what you need when you need it.
Here are five simple, actionable tips for organizing your emergency supplies.
Five tips for organization of your emergency supplies:
- STORAGE: Storage bins (totes) and/or 5-gallon buckets with lids work great for keeping emergency supplies organized. Food grade barrels work well for bulk food storage. These containers keep your supplies safe from mice. Use whatever works best in your storage space. Some people use flatter storage bins and slide them under their bed. Adapt to use whatever space you have.
- LABELS: Label your containers. Place a label on each box or bin. I like Avery labels but anything that will affix will do the trick. Print or handwrite a label in indelible ink to easily identify the contents at a quick glance.
- LOCATIONS: Select the safest storage location(s) you can. Go-bags might be stored in one place. Emergency food in another area and other emergency supplies in yet another. We all have to make the best choices given our own situations. Consider the safety of your stored items along with quick accessibility, particularly in an emergency situation.
- RECORDS: Most of us will find that our supplies are stored in different locations, sometimes in our vehicles, in closets, the garage, under the bed, etc. Most of us also tend to become forgetful over time and we don’t want to go on a scavenger hunt in the midst of an emergency situation. This is where a printed record will come in handy. I prefer an Excel spreadsheet but you can use any written or printed record. Just prepare a simple list of your supplies and their location. Store your list somewhere fast and easy to find, and let other family members know where the list is.
- REVIEW: It is a good idea to review your emergency supplies at least once a year. This way you can be certain they remain where they are supposed to be and are in good condition. You can take this opportunity to replace anything that is needed and to add more emergency supplies to your stash.
These simple steps could make all the difference in a disaster situation. Stay prepared and organized.