The past few years, stories of disasters like hurricanes, severe freezes, floods and earthquakes have been inescapable. This can be scary and discouraging. However, there are ways to make sure that you and your family remain safe and comfortable after a natural disaster. One of the most important things you can do to enhance your family’s disaster preparedness is have a good disaster kit in your home.
These essentials should be stored in one easily accessible location:
Water. It’s recommended that you have at least one gallon per person per day, with a minimum of a three day supply. If you don’t want to buy bottled water, store water in empty 2-liter soda bottles. Commercially bottled water can be stored for several years. Home-bottled tap water should be replaced at least twice a year.
Food. Make sure that you have at least three days worth of food on-hand to enhance your family’s disaster preparedness. Stock up on shelf-stable staples like pasta, rice, tuna, canned vegetables, and dried and canned fruit. Make sure that plenty of the foods you have can be eaten without additional cooking, in case you lose power. Be sure to store a spare can opener with your food, along with other basic kitchen implements.
First aid kit. A basic first aid kit with bandages, antiseptics and other emergency items is a must for any disaster kit. Your kit should also include an extra supply of any prescription medicines you require.
Flashlights. Look into crank-powered flashlights that do not require batteries. Small, strap-on headlamps are also extremely helpful, as they provide hands-free light.
Important documents. Keep copies of insurance policies, financial records and identification inside waterproof, resealable containers.
Hygiene items. Baby wipes, wash cloths, and toilet paper will help with sanitation and comfort.
Zippered plastic bags. Keep zippered plastic bags of various sizes on-hand so that you can seal opened packages and protect items from dirt and moisture.
Extra clothing. Keep a change of clothing for each member of your household with your disaster preparedness kit. Items made of man-made fibers are best, as these dry more quickly than cotton or wool.
Authorities from FEMA have said that, in many natural disasters, more suffering is caused by lack of planning than by the disaster itself. Taking these steps to insure your family’s comfort and safety puts you well ahead of the game.