Preparedness is not necessarily that useful unless you are somewhat organized about it. You need the can opener along with the cans. The Go Bag needs to be packed and ready to grab quickly on your way out the door to evacuate.
You need to have some level of planning and organizing to really be prepared. I have already posted several times with sites that offer lists of preparedness supplies.
If you are just starting out with Emergency Preparedness, the first thing you need is a Go Bag. This should contain supplies to keep you going for up to three days as well as important papers. I have links in previous posts to the Red Cross lists for preparedness supplies along with the same for FEMA and other disaster relief organizations.
Every individual and family is different. Your exact needs will be different than the needs of other individuals and families. It is a good idea to look at suggested disaster supplies lists from different organizations, so you can pick out what supplies best fit your needs.
One way to help choose what kinds of disaster supplies to emphasize is to examine the most likely disasters for your area.
Do you live in or near an area that has frequent tornadoes? Are you in an area that has or expects earthquakes? Are you on the route for radioactive materials being trucked to a disposal site? You can check on what sorts of disasters are most likely to happen in your area.
Once you select the most likely disasters that you must deal with, you can then look at recommendations for supplies to have on hand for those disasters.
Many disaster essentials for one kind of emergency will be the same ones needed for most other kinds of disasters. There will be only a relatively small amount of supplies that are unique to a certain kind of disaster. This makes disaster preparedness much easier.
Look at the lists of supplies for the different kinds of disasters most likely to occur in your area. You can begin your preparedness with the items that are on all the lists for different kinds of disasters that are likely in your area.
Preparedness requires some practice. In order to get the bugs out of your plan, you will need to actually try out at least parts of it. An example of this is your evacuation plan.
If the building you live in is two stories high, you need to make sure everyone who will be using that rope ladder to evacuate, can actually use it. Finding out that Grandma is too weak to hold onto the ladder is not something you want to find out in the middle of a fire. You need to know if you have to work out plan B.
When I first began to actively work at preparedness, I lived on the third floor of a building. I found to my chagrin, that rope ladders for higher than two stories are not commonly stocked in most stores that carry preparedness supplies. You have to look around for them.
I was thinking about looking for a fire escape ladder when I watched a video of a disaster in Asia with a fire in a tall building. There were only a few very long rope ladders to escape from the building. The ladders were full of people. I didn't have to do any math at all to see that the ladders were clearly overloaded. There were not enough of the ladders, even overloaded as they were. People were jumping off the ladders to their deaths.
Those buildings should have had many more fire escape ladders than they had. People died because there were not enough ladders. That is not a difficult preparedness thing to organize. Make sure you have enough fire ladders that are long enough for your building.
I just hate seeing people die for no good reason. I hope you, Dear Reader, will not be one of them.