Prepare a Disaster Bin For Emergencies

I live in southeastern NC and although we don't get the full force of hurricanes like you do in FL, we do get the damaging winds, rains, and tornadoes spun off from the storms. So keeping disaster bins is important here too. I am always amazed at how many people here don't have them.

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I keep 4 bins here. Two to be used in warm weather, and two for cold weather. There are a lot of duplicates in all 4, such as non perishable foods, pet foods, rawhides, and treats, water, flashlights, batteries, radio, pet supplies, including leashes and collars, a blow-up air mattress that will fit in the back of my car with a 12V inflator, sheets, pillows, and blankets suitable for the season. I also keep in each, a list of what clothing to grab for that season, and a list of all prescription and non-prescription meds, along with any other medical supplies (in my case I'd have to grab my TENS machine and the supplies to go with it).

I also keep copies of all items in my wallet. All of these are laminated to prevent damage to the lists. And there is one copy in each one of the 2 seasonal bins. Another list I put in there is a list of everything in my house, along with all the pertinent information for each and, if possible, a picture of each. And last but by no means least, a close-up and current picture of myself, my husband, and each of my pets.

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For the pets, I include all their veterinary history and shot records, most importantly their rabies shot dates and when they are due again, and the rabies tag numbers, and all the information on the chips I had implanted in them.

Also, in an envelope I keep 5 money orders in each season's bin in the amount of $100.00 each. Yes it's a lot, and yes it took me a while to save it up, but if the situation arises, I won't be broke. Once every 5 years, I cash the money orders in and buy new ones in the same amounts. This way I know they are current. By having $100.00 increments instead of one $500.00, it makes it easier to cash them. And money orders do not expire. I also keep a credit card in each of these envelopes. I keep a credit card with a $500.00 balance on each. Four times a year, I take each credit card and buy one tank of gas for the car, and pay it off immediately. This keeps the cards from expiring from lack of use.

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Something else I do is when I buy a car, I make sure it's one that would be at least fairly comfortable to live in for a few days. My pets are among the most important parts of my life, right up there with my husband. So I refuse to be separated from them. If I ever have to evacuate (it has happened here), many times I can't find a hotel or motel that will accept pets. Or if I do they want an arm and a leg for it. So we find a good rest area, or sometimes I've simply pulled into a motel parking lot, but change every night, and sleep in the car. The best places I've found to park like that, are major truck stops, such as Flying J, Petro, TA, etc. I park the car as close to the truck parking area as I can, and also no more than 2 rows back from the building. As a former trucker myself, and the wife of one now, I learned that truck stops can be the safest place to stop overnight.

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In these bins, anything that is paper is laminated and put into a plastic folder. Anything else (pet foods, snacks, meds, etc) gets put into doubled plastic Ziploc bags.

And one last thing; I also grab one or two books, crossword puzzle books, and my portable DVD player with some DVDs. This will keep the boredom at bay for me.

Oh, since I have a bird too and his cage would take up most of my car, I keep a small "travel" cage for emergencies. He'd be quite confined, but he'd be safe and with me. When I had a hamster I did the same thing. I'm actually using the same travel cage that I used for the hamster.

By Cricket from Parkton, NC

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September 12, 20110 found this helpful

What great information - a lot of food for thought! Thanks very much for sharing.

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Hope you have a blessed day.

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September 16, 20110 found this helpful

You have some great suggestions. I would add keeping a little cash in small bills and coins. We had a long power outage a couple years ago. As parts of town got power back they could open but there was a problem with the credit card system so they could accept cash only. And, they were having problems making change as too many people were using large bills. We ended up having to borrow cash from our neighbor to buy gas!

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Anonymous
September 15, 20120 found this helpful

What do you drive to be able to put everybody, every pet, plus all these supplies in? A converted school bus?

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Anonymous
September 15, 20120 found this helpful

You take up to much room for all that.

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September 15, 20120 found this helpful

Excellent tips Cricket! I should follow a lot of this advice myself.

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Here on Long Island, we've never had to evacuate, but you never know. It would be better to be prepared than sorry. Thanks!

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Anonymous
September 15, 20120 found this helpful

I do the same thing, only in our motorhome. It is always stocked with food, has a generator, gas to cook with or run the fridge on, and gas to get us away to safety quickly if need be. I keep summer and winter clothes, including a jacket in it all the time. If disaster strikes, we we only have to grab dogfood, the dogs, bird food, the bird, and GO. I used to keep their food stocked in there too but found the dogfood went stale, as did the bird seed, so now I have it on hand and ready to go, just pick up and take off. Even a popup camper would work real well for emergency get aways. I keep vitamins, things like ibuprophen, bandaids, cortisone cream, antibiotic ointment, and other emergency things I also use while camping. I just replace as we go.

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Anonymous
September 15, 20120 found this helpful

Wow, super organized!

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September 15, 20120 found this helpful

I was really happy to see your post on keeping your pets safe! I have two pets and I, too, plan for their safety in emergencies. It is so sad to see on tv the homeless pets wondering streets when families evacuate and they get left behind.

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Anonymous
September 16, 20120 found this helpful

This is great thank you so much. I will be busy.

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September 16, 20120 found this helpful

You're one of the most prepared persons I know. Good for you in protecting your dogs and I loved you "places to hide valuables" as well.

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