3 Steps to Creating An Emergency Game Plan
“I didn't create the rainy day, I just own the best umbrella.”
You may or may not be familiar with the movie Almost Famous, but I think we can all find wisdom in that quote.
After all, it says so much. When you think about it, everyone runs into problems in life. I learned this when I went to help with the aftermath of Katrina in 2005.
But that event was more than just a rainy day and as far as I could see, nobody brought an umbrella. After all, who in their right mind would ever consider that such devastation could occur in The United States of America? We couldn’t believe it either.
But while the U.S. has some seriously advanced disaster response teams and FEMA does an excellent job at helping to educate the public, our problem lies in the attitude of “that could never happen to me.” I’m here to tell you that it can.
None of this is meant to alarm you. Believe me, I spent plenty of time watching things like Doomsday Preppers when I got started and couldn’t help but think, “There has got to be a better way to do this! For the average American family, this is much too complicated and absolutely unnecessary.”
For the average Joe like you and me, all we want or need is a simple step by step action plan that we can access easily in case of an emergency.
The good news for you is that our team has spent several years researching, testing, re-researching and then retesting every little hack, tool, strategy or piece of gear we could find and came up with an easy to follow process for creating a game plan for you and your family.
We put all this information in our book, Your Emergency Game Plan, but we extracted 3 simple steps that anyone could use and put them into this guide today for you - free of charge.
My goal with this ebook is to take you from having absolutely no plan and probably no clue as to what to do and turn you into the confident, self-reliant person we both know you are deep down.
Use my knowledge and take a few minutes out of your day to follow this guide, and you’ll never have to worry about another storm coming your way again.
Ready to get started? Let’s roll.
Step 1 - Know Your Environment
Unless you live in one of the 10 states most at risk for major disasters, odds are you probably don’t need to have a backup plan for everything under the sun.
For instance, if you live in North Dakota, you should be as worried about a hurricane hitting your town as someone in El Paso is about a blizzard shutting down transportation for a day.
These things just aren’t likely to happen, and you have limited energy and time (like we all do). Part of this process is knowing where to effectively put your energy so that it will be used the most productively.
Furthermore, there are certain parts of the country that just need to be prepared more than others.
But how do you determine which scenario you should be preparing for? Let’s walk you through it.
First, take a look at this map which goes over not only the disasters most likely to hit each state, but it also gives each state a score based on their preparedness level.
10 is the most prepared a state can get (in terms of resources to support the citizens in case of an emergency; this score measures the state’s disaster budget per capita), 0 is the least. At the same time, a state with a 10 score on the vulnerability scale is the most likely to get hit with a disaster, one with a 0 score is the least likely to get hit.
As you can see, if you live in Texas you really need to get some kind of game plan going! Texas received a 9.4 rating on how likely they were to get hit by a natural disaster, but only a 0.3 rating on how prepared the state was to take care of its citizens.
Are we starting to realize why storms like Katrina could cause so much devastation? Look at Louisiana, for example.
They are ranked a 2.5 in preparedness but a 6.8 in likelihood to be hit by a disaster! Not to mention, the entire state is at risk of being hit by a hurricane (again I am referencing the map).
You also need to learn more about your specific community, not just the state. One of the action steps in this section gets you in touch with emergency responders.
This is by far one of the most important things you can do, as it makes the entire process more tailored to your specific situation. You learned above that each state has its own resources for helping folks in a bad spot. This will give you almost clairvoyant-like guidance into how your area is prepared.
- Go to the site (link) and write down 1) Your state’s preparedness score 2) Your state’s likelihood to get hit 3) What disasters are most likely to affect you.
- Go take our preparedness quiz (if you haven’t already) and determine which of these areas you could improve and get caught up to speed.
- Contact your local emergency managers. We have a list of them on our website under your state’s emergency plans. Ask them questions like the ones below. This is going to give you an idea about what the community provides and what you will need to compensate for:
- Has a plan been developed for our community? How often are changes made?
- How are citizens warned about emergencies?
- What emergency supplies do they keep on hand?
- How do they determine when an emergency is present?
- What plans are in place to take care of injured citizens?
- How many emergency shelters do they operate and where are they located?
- How do they assess damage and provide support?
- What are the evacuation routes they recommend? Are there special services for the elderly or handicapped?
Step 2 - Make Your Plan
By now, you have determined what you need to prepare for and why. This clarity will tone down any kind of confusion you might run into during the actual planning part of the process, so be sure you do all the action steps before moving on to step 2.
The most important part of any plan is its ability to be executed, and this execution relies on simplicity.
Simply put, your plan just needs to be a checklist. Nothing fancy or big and daring - the simpler the better.
It should have all of the following:
- A spot for everyone outside the home to meet
- The specific safety zone in the home for each type of emergency
- A written evacuation plan with a minimum of two exits
- This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Literally just sketch out the different floors in your house and make a drawing of where to go for the exits. We draw one out for you in our book
- Evacuation zones for home, local and city-wide emergencies. This is where the interview with officials above comes in handy
- An ICE (In Case Of Emergency) sheet of contacts
After this has been completed, it needs to be rehearsed with the whole family (pets included). A plan means nothing if nobody knows how to follow it.
Everyone in your family should know how to dial 911, how to tune into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to listen to warnings (see here for qualified radios) and what the most realistic scenarios are.
- Get everyone in the family together for a group meeting
- Go through all of the points above and write down every single response to all of them
- Rehearse with your family the entire evacuation plan. Make sure everyone can recite it from memory.
- Print multiple copies and deliver the plan to everyone in the house and post in all common areas.
Step 3 - Build Your Kit
As you saw above, each state varies in its ability to take care of its citizens, which means it may or may not have the resources to keep you alive if say a flood destroys the supermarkets in your town.
This is why a survival kit or “Bug Out Bag” is essential to you being prepared.
There are two ways you can do this. One is by gathering all of the supplies to fit the needs we have listed below by doing your research, going shopping, then packing these into a duffel bag or a backpack. This will take more time and energy to do.
Or, you can go to the GPS Survival store and check out one of the bags or kits we have there that is pre-built so you don’t have to worry about preparing all of this on your own. You can check that out here.
For those of you that want to prepare by yourself, follow the guidelines below and you will be set!
Guidelines For Building A Kit
You want to make sure you are following the “rule of threes” in determining your needs. Also, understand that life is unpredictable and oftentimes unforgiving. So, in emergency preparedness we like to say “2 is 1 and 1 is none.” Bottom line: have a backup.
Water - the most fundamental and significant component of the entire kit. You can live for approximately three days without water, but dehydration starts setting in much sooner. A source with 3 days worth of water (or a water filter) is mandatory.
Food - you can go up to three weeks without food, but understand that a person lacking food has their judgment pretty severely impaired. Low blood sugar is almost equivalent to intoxication. You can get 72 hours worth of food in travel-sized pouches, which makes it easier to store.
Shelter - the most underrated but one of the most critical. You can survive for about three hours in extreme cold or heat, after that, serious impairment starts to kick in. If you don’t have a designated shelter area, here are some examples of ones we recommend. Do your best to make a safe spot for you and your family.
Security - This is simply the ability to protect yourself in a tough spot. Personal safety supplies like Sabre Pepper Gel can be extremely effective without being lethal.
Hygiene - keeping yourself clean is important for more reasons than “you stink”, it becomes a health issue. You need to make sure you and all of your supplies are safe from bacteria and viruses.
First Aid - Basic first aid is an essential skill, and a first aid kit is a very very inexpensive investment that can literally save your life. The quicker you treat a wound, the easier it is to heal. Every Emergency Kit needs a First Aid Kit to go along with it.
This section only has one action step: build your kit!
Like I mentioned above, we create a premium prebuilt kit that is the leader in the industry in terms of quality, and it fills every need listed above. Guaranteed to last a family of 4 up to 72 hours, you will sleep soundly knowing you have the GPS Emergency Survival Kit ready and waiting.
Do you feel more confident now? More informed? Better prepared? You should.
You already know more than 95% of the rest of Americans out there, and just by reading this book you have taken a massive first step on the way to being able to take care of yourself - anytime, anywhere.
Be sure you take these action steps. This book is no good if you don’t act on it!
And when you have all this put together, shoot us an email and let us know how it went.
-Shawn Tipping from Game Plan Experts