It is easy to put the news of natural disasters out of mind when they happen in far-off countries, but earthquakes, storms and floods can happen almost anywhere - and eventually, happen almost everywhere. 

Although your risk of being caught in a major natural disaster is very low, it happens to many thousands of people around the world every year. In many cases, their survival problems go far beyond the initial shock of the disaster itself. Even small-scale disasters can cause power blackouts and water shortages for days or weeks. The consequences of a large-scale disaster can last much longer.

All this is no cause for panic, doom or gloom. But consider what might happen to your family during a natural disaster, and make plans accordingly. And if you live in an area that is especially prone to certain types of disasters - such as the US tornado belt - it is even more vital that you are prepared for emergencies, and protected if they happen.

Building a household survival kit does not have to be expensive, and many of the survival tools listed below have uses beyond surviving a disaster. It is important to keep your survival tools and equipment together as much as possible, so everyone in your household knows where they are in an emergency. But checking, using and maintaining the tools frequently is an excellent way to ensure they will function - and that you know how to use them - if a disaster does strike.

1. Clean water
Water supplies are easily disrupted or contaminated during natural disasters, and the problems may continue for weeks or even months. You should have enough clean water stored to last everyone for at least 72 hours. Each person will need at least 3 liters per day just for drinking. That's a lot of water, and if you store it all in plastic bottles you should try to refresh your stock every few months or so, to prevent chemicals in the plastic tainting the water. A high-quality portable water filter can ensure you have drinkable water in almost any circumstances. Most are pumped by hand, and use a ceramic filter that is fine enough to keep out bacteria and other parasites.

2. Safe Food
You should have storable food to last everyone for 72 hours. Most food bars and freeze-dried foods can last for many months. Several survival kit suppliers have a range of specialist food packs, similar to military rations that can be safely stored for a number of years.

3. Warmth and Shelter
Store some emergency blankets and spare warm clothes - including gloves, socks and hats. They do not need to be fashionable, but woolen clothes are warmer and more water-resistant than cotton and jeans. Have at least one extra poncho or raincoat, and consider getting a sheet of plastic, tent-fly or tent as some form of emergency shelter against the elements.

4. Sources Of Light
As well keeping the night at bay, light sources can serve as an important communication tool with the outside world - flash-lights, light-sticks and even flares can be used to signal emergency crews when it is dark. Plan to provide enough light for three days. Unless you have a hand-powered flash-light, you will require batteries, so make sure you have enough of the right kind.

5. First Aid Kit
A standard first-aid kit available in most drug-stores is enough to begin with, but you may want to include other items - such as hand-wipes, face-masks, surgical alcohol and iodine for disinfecting cuts. Even minor wound can become major problems if they are not kept clean. You should consult your doctor about any essential prescription medicines you may need for your household survival kit.

6. A Radio
Many natural disasters can cause power outages, which may shut-down local cell and telephone networks. When this happens, radios become a vital channel of public communication, allowing emergency services to broadcast instruction and advice. The best choice for a household survival kit is a hand-powered radio - which can be used as much as it is required, and doesn't need batteries. But even a small battery-powered radio can help keep you informed of the progress of rescue efforts.

7. Other Tools
Depending on what and who you are preparing for - and how much you want to spend - your household survival kit might include: specialist survival knives and cutting tools, portable stoves or fire-making equipment, and portable power supplies that can be used to power equipment directly and charge batteries. You may also want to include pet supplies - and putting in a deck of cards is something of a lucky tradition. And by all means, don't forget that Bible!

1. Gather information: Become informed about hazards that can affect the region where you live. Find out if your community has warning signals and/or evacuation plans. 

2. Assemble a Preparedness Kit: Make sure you have enough food and water to provide for your family for two weeks; Food Insurance's™ Essentials Kit and EmergencyPlus Kit are perfect for this. Additionally, you'll want to add things like medication, first aid supplies, water filters, heat sources, clothing, blankets, and temporary shelter. 

3. Setup a Family Plan: Choose a place outside your home but nearby to meet in case of an emergency. Choose a secondary meeting location away from your neighborhood in case you can't get home. Select a friend or relative who lives out-of-state as your "family check-in contact". 

4. Prepare Your Home: Post emergency telephone numbers by phones, and teach childern when and how to call 911. Install and maintain smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Store important family documents in waterproof containers. Keep your Preparedness Kit in a location where it is easily accessable in case of a quick evacuation. 

5. Practice and Maintain Your Plan: It is important to make sure that each member of your family knows your Disaster Preparedness Plan. Practice your plan, and update it as needed. 

With advanced preparation, and emergency food storage, bug-out-bags and supplies, you can ensure your family is prepared for whatever the future may hold. Don't wait — start working on your family's disaster plan today.

Here are some preparedness supplies that can be purchased for just a dollar.   Let's start with the local Dollar Store and see where it goes.

Are you ready to do some budget prepping?

60 Prepping Items You Can Buy for a Dollar

1.  Bottled Water
2.  Canned Meats
3.  Canned Fruits and Vegetables
4.  Canned Juice
5.  Nuts and Crackers
6.  Candies
7.  BIC Lighters
8.  Paper Cups and Plates
9.  Plastic Utensils
10. Plastic Table Covers
11. Non-Electric Can Opener
12. Paper Towels
13. Aluminum Foil
14. Plastic Storage Bags/Containers
15. Garbage Bags
16. Toilet Paper
17. Plastic Buckets
18. Sponges
19. Disinfectants
20. Chlorine Bleach
21. Bar Soap
22. Laundry Soap
23. Flashlights
24. Batteries
25. Candles
26. Butane Matches
27. Wood Matches
28. Spray Bottles
29. Scissors
30. Hand Tools
31. Duct Tape
32. Utility Knife
33. Plastic Sheeting
34. Garden Trowels
35. Personal Hygiene Items
36. Vitamins
37. Sunscreen Lotion
38. Sewing Kit
39. Latex Gloves
40. Cleansing Agent/Soap
41. Antibacterial Towelettes
42. Antibacterial Ointment
43. Antiseptic Ointment
44. Adhesive Bandages
45. Tweezers
46. Aspirin/Non-Aspirin Pain Reliever
47. Cotton Balls
48. Baby Bottles
49. Baby Wipes
50. Paper & Notepads
51. Pencils/Pens
52. Whistles
53. Jigsaw Puzzles
54. Card Games
55. Coloring Books & Crayons
56. Toys
57. Pet Food
58. Pet Bowls
59. Leash and Collar
60. Emergency Ponchos

Beyond the Dollar Store

The local dollar store is not the only place you will find bargains.  The back aisles of many drugstores and even big box home improvement stores will have deals if you take the time to seek them out.  And then there is the online kingpin, Amazon.

I often will point out “Almost Free” items in the BDS Bargain Bin and also on the Almost Free Page.  There you will find whistles, can openers, pocket tools, flashlights and more.

The Final Word

I frequently recommend that you should purchase the very best you can afford. Still, sometimes you need something and don’t have the extra cash to purchase the best.  Or perhaps you need extra, backup supplies.

When that happens, buying things from the dollar store or some other bargain outlet simply makes good sense. Besides, it is fun to shop for bargains.  And don’t forget, you can hone skills and increase your knowledge for free.

There are so many things that you can do to get prepared – all you really need is to get off your butt and start!