How to Prepare Your Family for a Natural Disaster

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a month since ‘snovid.’ The extreme cold, power failures, and water outages are almost a distant memory now. If someone told me that San Antonio could reach lower temperatures than Alaska, I would have laughed a year ago. But sure enough, it did…

We spent more than 100 hours under freezing temperatures, plummeting to 9 degrees on Monday February 15th. With rolling power outages, the snow was only pretty for so long. My family was eventually too afraid to go outside—it was in the low 40s in our house and we didn’t know how hard it would be to warm back up.

We are blessed to say we survived, and our beloved Alamo City is now back to normal (at least normal for 2021). Since then, I’ve been taking time to reflect and plan for how we can better prepare for an emergency like this in the future. Here are some ways my own family is preparing, along with ideas from other San Antonio families.

3 Things We Got Right After the Winter Storms

  • Flashlights

    I knew we had at least one small flashlight that I used to play with the kids, but I had no idea where I left if. During the winter storm, we ended up using a small battery lamp that the kids had. Now we have some good battery-operated flashlights for everyone.

  • Bottle water

    I’ve promised myself that I will always have at least one extra package of bottled of water.

  • Emergency cash

    Having at least some cash on hand will be a habit for me now—some businesses could only accept cash with no electricity.

6 Things We Plan to Stock Up On

  • Battery backups

    I know battery backups and surge protectors were a lifesaver for some families during the winter storm. With this, they were able to charge their phones, and even plug in their computers and internet modems.

  • Bathing wipes

    Baby wipes were a lot of help, but next time I’ll be sure to have some bathing wipes for the days when it’s impossible to shower.

  • Hand warmers

    My hands are always cold, and I have seen many moms recommend having hand warmers during winter. I imagine they would have helped a lot during the winter storm.

  • Extra blankets

    Are there ever enough?

  • Extra batteries

    Always a good idea to have as well.

  • Stocking up on food

    I will make sure the pantry always has the dry goods and canned food we use the most.

Other Recommendations from Local Moms

  • A generator

    Many of us would have loved to have a generator, and for those with medical conditions, this became a necessity. Having an emergency generator (big or small), will enable you to keep different appliances running.

  • A portable solar generator

    The solar-powered generators are also one of the things some moms have recommended. They may not always work as well as traditional generators, but they’re a good emergency backup.

  • Battery powered light bulbs

    You can easily fins battery-operated or rechargeable light bulbs online.

  • Use your bathtub to store emergency drinking water

    When I realized our water was running out, I tried to save some in the bathtub, but  bathtub doesn’t seal properly. Someone online recommended the AquaPod and it seems like a smart investment for these kind of situations.

  • LifeStraw / water straws

    I didn’t know these existed but according to what I’ve read, they allow you to have clean drinking water and filter out any dirt, bacteria, or parasites.

  • Water purification germicidal tablets

    Also helps purifies water for drinking.

  • Plumbing supplies to fix broken pipes

    For those who are handy and can watch a YouTube tutorial to fix frozen pipes, it’s a good idea to have some basic tools and supplies on hand.

  • Manual can opener

    We can have a lot of canned food but without a manual can opener, you won’t be able to open them!

  • Indoor grill

    Many of us were craving warm food during the storm. There are electric indoor grills that will work if we have a way to power them, and there are also some gas options.

  • Camping stove

    I imagine they would have also been helpful to cook food with no power.

  • Fireplace

    We stayed by the chimney a lot of time, but I know not all houses have one. I’ve seen some families planning to install one.

  • Candles 

    The easiest way to light up a dark house without power.

Things to Have on Hand for Kids

This obviously depends on your children’s ages and preferences, but some things work wonders at just about any age. For my 3- and 6-year-olds, I’m planning to always have coloring books, Play-Doh, and family games on hand.

Also, let’s not forget about winter gear. I’m sure many of us would have loved to have waterproof snow gloves for our kids.

Things to Put in an Emergency Backpack

Lastly, if you’re planning to prep an emergency backpack, here are some things to include:

  • Water
  • Non-perishable food
  • First aid kit
  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Garbage bags
  • Lighter/matches
  • Medicines
  • Emergency blanket
  • Flashlight
  • Bug spray
  • Extra clothes
  • Wet wipes
  • Tape and scissors
  • Toilet paper
  • Cash

If you have any other ideas to prepare for another emergency or ‘snowpocalypse’ or, feel free to tell us in the comments.

Born and raised in the north part of Mexico, Aidée is a mom of two boys who considers San Antonio a great place to raise kids, even though all her family lives on the other side of the border. She speaks only Español at home and tries to teach her boys about their heritage, learning as well about American traditions and having fun adapting to both cultures. Favorite Restaurant: Palenque Grill Favorite Landmark: Mission San Jose Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Rodeo