How Ready Is Your Family for a Disaster?

Sunday a fire in Austin burned through several apartments at an apartment complex. A local news station interviewed one of the victims. She commented about how they were not ready for a disaster. She did not grab her cell phone, car keys, or anything else important before leaving her apartment. She didn’t have a plan.

Watching that interview made me think about our family. Do we have a plan if disaster strikes?

The answer—Not really.

A few years ago I attended an Austin Disaster Relief Network conference. A main topic throughout the conference? Be ready for a disaster.

They convinced me. I even bought a book that reinforced our need to get our home ready.

Then we became licensed as foster parents. A part of the application asked us for our emergency or disaster plan. I thought to myself, “we got this!” We even had to make evacuation maps to place in the bedrooms of any children living in our home.

‘Big sigh’

Back to watching the interview on the newscast. We are less ready for a disaster today than six years ago. What happened?

Busyness of life

Isn’t that the reason for everything that gets put off? As soon as we decided to foster children, our schedule turned upside down. For many months, we simply survived day-to-day.

I didn’t have time to really plan for a disaster that probably never would strike.

Our life has settled into more of a routine now, but you know what it is like. Always something around here screaming for attention.


No one ever thinks that a disaster will hit them. Are you like me? I choose to play with my kid, work on some hobby, hang out with my wife—the list is quite long. I would rather do just about anything than to make sure we have supplies, an evacuation and meet-up plan or adequate protection for valuables.

My wife thinks I am a little nerdy for even spending much time thinking about these things. But honestly when I hear or read about a disaster like a fire or a flood, I get on myself about not making this a priority.

I look at our food supply—we have enough for a couple of days. Potable water? None. Do we know our evacuation plan or where to meet if we are not together? Nope.

What about important documents? Most are in a fire-proof safe, but what if we can’t get to it.

Ok, how many of you think I am overly sensitive to this? I feel a bit silly. But not really.

Why is this important?

Prior planning to protect my family.

Most people today agree it is important to have life and home insurance. Most also would say that putting money away for retirement is wise as well. How is this any different?

I really don’t know when or if a disaster will hit my family. Do you?

Able to help others in time of disaster.

Think about it. When disaster hits, our focus turns to our own family. If I prepare my family, I can help others.


Why did I watch the news? Watching that news report and interview was sobering. I hope by writing this blog, I will work on getting our family ready.

Here are a couple of websites that can help you get ready for when a disaster strikes. Warning: The amount of information can overwhelm!

What kind of ideas do you have to help a family prepare for a disaster?

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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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