As we said in our last post, Be Prepared. Today we’re focusing on ensuring that you are prepared for disasters that could befall you while at home.
Services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration and telephone service, may be unavailable after a major disaster. Experts at ready.gov recommend preparing to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Ready to get prepared? Consider compiling your own home safety kit. You might want to include:
- Water, one gallon per person, per day
- Non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Cash and change in a waterproof container
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place (that means taking immediate shelter where you are– at home, work, school or in between, usually for just a few hours)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener
- Local maps
- Cell phone with battery-powered or solar charger
- Prescription medications and eyeglasses
- Infant formula and supplies
- Personal hygiene items
- Pet food and extra water
- Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records, in a waterproof container
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid guide (FEMA offers many free publications)
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing for each person
- Unscented household bleach and medicine dropper (bleach is an effective disinfectant and can also be used to treat drinking water)
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Disposable cups, plates, paper towels and utensils
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Is your area prone to ice storms? Earthquakes? Floods? You may need particular tools or equipment in those cases.
Store your household kit in a large, portable, watertight container (a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels works well). Make sure it’s accessible, and remember to maintain it, change out batteries periodically, make sure the energy bars and peanut butter haven’t gone bad, and resist the temptation to raid the spare cash.
Preparing for emergencies isn’t complicated; it just takes a little planning and organization. Stop putting it off and put together some supplies. Hopefully, you’ll never need them, but if you do, you’ll be relieved you took the initiative.