How to Prepare for Emergencies When You are Strapped for Time

Being ready doesn't mean being perfect...

Being ready doesn’t mean being perfect…

As organizers, one of the things we help people do is get ready for emergencies. Here are some great tips from our guest blogger, Emily Fox:

We know we should be prepared for natural or personal disasters. But we are busy. We work. We take care of kids, elderly parents, or both. We volunteer. We try to exercise. It is hard to be motivated to deal with what MIGHT happen in the future when there is so much to deal with today. Laundry trumps emergency kit.

But there are ways to upgrade your disaster preparation without getting overwhelmed.

Remember ANY amount of preparation is better than none.   So, let’s choose just three of the most important preparations and accomplish them.

Step One: Get a kit

If you are busy, purchasing an emergency kit is easier and faster than making your own.

Here is a great option from with all the supplies the Red Cross recommends.

Earthquake Kit

Earthquake Kit

I like it even better than the Red Cross brand emergency kits because you can customize it easily, the price is reasonable, and you can choose between a backpack, a duffle bag or a rolling bag. There is even a little extra room to stuff a jacket or extra diapers.

This kit also provides both bags of water and water purification tablets. The bags of water are not enough for 72 hours (which the Red Cross recommends). So the tablets are crucial. But to use the tablets you’ll need a receptacle for holding water. Add this collapsible water container to your order and put it in your kit and you’ll have enough water for 72 hours or longer.

While you are reading this article, click and order, and you will have accomplished Step One! Store the kit in your car for quick evacuation or emergencies on the road.

Step Two: Make a plan

An emergency plan refers to knowing who to call for help, how to get in touch with loved ones, and where to go if you need to evacuate your home.

Print one of these emergency card templates for each member of your family. Fill them out together as a family activity. Keep the cards in wallets or backpacks.

Red Cross Contact Card

Red Cross Contact Card

Emergency Card_Adult

Wallet Card for Adult

Wallet Card for Child

Wallet Card for Child


Step Three: Get informed

Next time you wait at the doctor’s office or are put on hold by AT&T, put these key contacts in your phone and copy them into your wallet. They are valuable sources for information during a disaster.

  • Radio: AM 1610
  • Local news on TV or internet:
  • If you are a resident of Berkeley, the city automatically calls residents at home to give them critical public safety information. Landlines are automatically registered, but you must manually register your cell phone: BENS registration (866) 484-3264
  • Safe and Well Website. To let your friends and family know you are safe, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Website. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for “Disaster” to register.

Now that you see you can accomplish three major steps in disaster preparation, visit to learn more emergency preparations you can incorporate into your life.


Emily Fox is a Professional Organizer, Communication Facilitator, and Daily Money Manager. Emily helps families in the East Bay deal with emergencies in all forms, from natural disasters to personal crises. She can be reached at or 510 735-7345.

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Filed under Bay Area Services, Decluttering, Guest Experts, Perspective, Strategies

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