BOISE – September is National Preparedness Month, an important reminder that natural disasters can strike at any time.  While many of these catastrophes are completely unexpected, AAA says that advance preparation is key to survival and disaster recovery.

“News headlines from around the world make it clear that preparedness is always a wise investment.  Not only can you improve your own situation, but you may also be in a position to help friends, family members, and others in your community,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “There’s no need to prepare out of fear or worry, and the process doesn’t need to feel overwhelming.  By taking small and simple steps over time, we can better plan for whatever comes our way without breaking the bank.”

Here are some of AAA’s tips to prepare yourself and your loved ones:

  • On every shopping trip, purchase an extra can or two of protein-rich foods that don’t require cooking to eat, like tuna, canned chicken, chili, or peanut butter.  Write dates on the cans and rotate through them to avoid spoilage.
  • Consider purchasing a camp stove and/or generator.
  • Identify ways to safely heat your home in an emergency, such as a fireplace.  Never use a propane heater or stove without proper ventilation.
  • Keep emergency and first aid kits in your home, with a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, a flashlight, a can opener, medicines and prescriptions, and at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water for people and pets.  A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Keep similar items in your car for an emergency.
  • Prepare an emergency plan so that you can quickly evacuate if necessary.  Practice retrieving emergency supplies and quickly loading them into your vehicle.  Set up rendezvous points and map out multiple exits from your neighborhood and town.
  • Identify an out-of-area contact who can relay information if local communications are disrupted.
  • Have cash and important documents on hand.
  • Create a home inventory of all your valuables in the event of loss.
  • Take CPR and first aid training from a local chapter of the American Red Cross, a fire department, or a similar organization.

“When it comes to preparedness, small, consistent effort can really pay off in the long run,” Conde said.  “While we all hope to avoid tough times, planning ahead can provide some peace of mind and keep the future from feeling scary.”