Preparing for a disaster before it happens, will help you better deal with the disaster. Having the necessary supplies makes storm preparation less stressful. Having a Family Disaster Kit helps you survive until help arrives. These kits should be mobile, with more supplies stockpiled at home.
There are 6 categories of items needed for your Disaster Kit. Those categories are: water, food, first aid kit, tools and supplies, clothing and bedding, and special items. Each category has specific supplies associated with it, also. A 3 day supply is suggested.
Each person will need 1 gallon of water. More will be needed for pets and sanitation. When stock piling food choose food that requires little to no preparation and little water. Tap water may not be safe to drink. There are ways to sanitize water. The most common ways are boiling the water or adding chlorine bleach. The easiest thing is to have a supply of sealed, bottled water on hand. Each person also needs a 3 day supply of non-perishable food. Dry cereal, power bars, peanut butter, and trail mix are good options. Canned food is also a good choice. Don’t forget a manual can opener. Canned fruit, juice, and meat are all good ideas. Try to have a variety of food on hand. Vitamins would also be advisable.
A first aid kit is very important. During a disaster, accidents happen. Cuts and scrapes from tree limbs and broken glass. Many times a man cutting limbs after a storm is injured from falling debris. A well stocked first aid kit is the first line of defense for an injury. Include bandages and gauze pads of different sizes. Don’t forget the tape. Scissors to cut bandages and tape, tweezers to remove splinters, antiseptic and cleaning pads to clean the wound. Other useful items to have are gloves, and a thermometer. Non-prescription drugs are also needed in the first aid kit. Pain killers, anti-diarrhea, antacids, and laxatives. These supplies will be used until you are able to get to a doctors office or hospital.
There are other general supplies needed. These are basic supplies needed for daily activities, power loss, quick fixes, and sanitation. Paper products such as paper plates and cups keep excess water use to a minimum. Battery operated radios will give you access to important news and weather information. Flashlights are needed for power outages. Of course batteries are needed for both. Other items to include for home use are tape, fire extinguisher, water proof matches, pliers, flare, shut off wrench, maps, soap, chlorine bleach, garbage bags, and disinfectant.
Clean clothing and bedding is an essential during a disaster. Clean, dry skin is vital to health. Each person needs at least 3 clean changes of clothes. Don’t forget foot ware. Depending on the disaster rain gear and thermal underwear may be needed. Work boots, gloves, and hats will be needed during the cleanup afterwards. Sleeping bags may also be a good idea.
Special items that warrant inclusion are based on who is in your family. Babies will need formula, diapers, bottles, and medication. Seniors may need heart medication, blood pressure medication, insulin, and dentures. If you wear glasses don’t forget them. Remember your pet. So many pets were left behind during hurricane Katrina. Pets also need food and water. They also require bowls, bedding, ad leashes. There survival must be planned as well.
There are a few other things to include in your disaster kit. Important contact numbers, family records, credit cards, passports, and bank account information needs to be included. Information that may be needed after the storm, and difficult to replace should be placed in the mobile disaster kit. Consider storing these items in a fire and flood proof safe when at home.
The essentials of the kit should be mobile. Break it up into backpacks for each member of the family, This includes: food, water, change of clothes, documents, first aid kit, and cash. Remember, ATMs may not work for a few days after a disaster. Cash works even with a power outage. The mobile disaster kit gives you enough supplies to survive if you need to leave. Have it ready to go before the storm hits. The rest of the supplies should be kept in a central location at home. That way when you return, you will have more supplies on hand. Hopefully, by that time the utilities will be on and life will get back to normal. That is not always the case. It is best to be prepared for an extended time without outside help.
The purpose of these disaster kits is to help you survive until help arrives. You can not leave your families survival in the hands of others. Act now, plan for your survival during the next hurricane, blizzard, or other disaster. Pack a disaster kit.
Sources: Hurricane Preparedness: A Community Day Event
The American Red Cross