Emergency Preparedness While On Vacation


Over the past few years our family has worked hard to be prepared in our home and vehicles for an emergency or disaster. Food storage, water, portable power, radio gear, garden, emergency shelter, portable cooking, medical supplies, go bags, and personal protection. The issue becomes when we go on vacation using modes of travel other than our vehicles (ie planes, ships, trains). We leave the protection we enjoy, and expose yourself to being back in a state of not being prepared.

With travel restrictions especially on the airlines, your preparedness is reduced to a few pieces of luggage and less than a day of sustainability. In an event of a disaster, you will quickly become a victim and be in need of immediate assistance. Recently, we went on a family vacation to Florida and experienced two tornadoes touching down north and south of us during a storm. So what are some steps we can do to mitigate this risk?


The very essential items should be brought with us on the trip. These are your everyday carry items or EDC. My EDC has a multitool, knife, HT with spare battery, flashlight, survival kit, cell charger, and a small medical kit. Due to the knives this would have to be transported in checked baggage. When bringing an HT, it is a good idea to program in local repeaters, local ARES frequencies, and Sky-Warn frequencies. The Chirp program makes this an easy task to temporarily flash the radio for the trip and then back to normal when you return.


Even though you are going to a tropical paradise, try to pack some external weather gear and durable clothing. You never know when your flight may be delayed or cancelled in a cold weather city. Or you may be exposed to adverse conditions during an unexpected change in weather.


While it is not practical to pack extra water or food. Once at your destination, purchase a case of water and basic food supply for your hotel room, rental car, or before boarding the cruise ship. The first item in any emergency that will be in short supply is water. Even if you do not use some of the water, a case is only a few dollars.


Make sure you have apps like weather.com or accu weather added to your phone and enter your vacation spot as your primary location. You will then get weather and emergency alerts on your phone while there. Also, do some research to see if the county or state EOC's, state highway department, sheriff offices have twitter accounts. Follow those accounts by creating a specific list for the trip. Lastly, pack a portable weather radio that has a loud alert to inform you of a local issue.


Keep alternate forms of government ID's separate from your wallet in case of theft. If travelling with children, keep official copies of birth certificates. You may need these to get past an unfriendly TSA agent or prove custody of your children at a recovery center. Keep multiple copies of a photo of your family, and photo's of each individual person. You may need these to prove relationships and post at recovery centers. Make sure each family member has a emergency contact card on them. Some families at theme parks, will write the parents cell phone number on the arm of a child. We keep taped to our children's car seats emergency information and any known allergies to assist first responders. Also, be sure to activate the emergency information mode on your cell phone. If you do not have that function, make sure your contact list has an ICE contact that is not with you.


Share with a friend or family member not traveling with you your travel plans including flight info, rental car plate/make/model, hotels you are staying at, and locations you plan to visit. Make a specific emergency communication plan for the trip.


In conclusion, be aware of your new residence. Communicate with your family where your new rally points will be in case of an evacuation. Think through scenarios and find ways to mitigate these new situations. Research ahead of time and mark the locations of local church buildings. In a disaster you can count on these locations being rally points of aid. Hopefully, these ideas will help you on your next vacation in being better prepared.