I think this was a wake up call to many, including me, that it is important to be prepared! It can bring such peace of mind when there is so much uncertainty and worry.
You may be wondering 1. What I brought and 2. What you can do to make sure you are prepared.
First, I brought things we needed. The only thing I really needed was my family and my prescription medication. Just about everything else was replaceable, or easy to get from the store. (Had we been in a more remote area, I would include food and water.)
My 'valuables' included a print of my favorite painting from my husband, my wedding ring, my photo albums, vital documents, our hard drive with digital photos, and journals. (My husband would probably also include our laptops, kindles, phones, chargers, etc. They were nice to have, but not necessary)
Other things I brought that I was grateful to have: toys for my son, clothes, toiletries, and extra diapers.
The difficult thing about emergencies is that you don't know what the circumstances will be: you don't know what you will be evacuated from, or how long of notice you will have. So...what do you do to be prepared?
I am NOT an expert about emergency preparedness, but I would recommend the following:
1. Pack your most valuable valuables in box, and keep it easily accessible. If it doesn't make sense to pack up the belongings, then keep a prioritized list of the things you would want to keep. In the moment, it is so hard to concentrate and remember all of the things you want to keep. Then, keep your house clean so you can get the things you need as fast as possible!!
2. Keep your car clean and as empty as possible. We have an emergency bag in the back of our car with diapers, a little water, some extra clothes, etc. That was nice to have. I didn't really need the bag of clothes I had forgotten to donate. And, if I had to choose between my camping chairs and the journals from when my husband was a child...well, the choice is obvious.
3. Keep an updated 72 hour kit. If you are unfamiliar with this term, it is just everything you would need to get through 72 hours: food, clothes, entertainment, water, toiletries, etc. We keep ours in old backpacks in one of our closets. There are some great resources for these kits. This site was pretty helpful for me.
4. Make sure you can live without power for 1 or 2 days. This includes ready-to-eat food, water, and batteries/lights.
There is so much you can do to prepare for emergencies- sometimes it is hard to know where to start. Hopefully these tips will help you be prepared, so that you can have peace of mind. I know from my own experience, the more you do, the more prepared you feel. And, that feeling of peace is SO comforting in times of emergency.