Disaster Preparedness Kit

No one likes to think about having to weather a disaster, but they do happen, so it’s vital to prepare for when they do. If you build a disaster kit ahead of time, you’ll be much more ready when it matters. Let’s explore what you need to know about how to how to make a disaster preparedness kit.

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What Should Your Disaster Kit Include?

A disaster kit should include everything you would need to survive if you can’t go to the store because of a hurricane, earthquake, fire or other disasters.

Start with food and water.

You’ll need two separate food and water supplies – a three-day supply to take with you in the event of an evacuation and a two-week supply in case you’re riding out the disaster at home.

For food, you’ll want easy to prepare non-perishable options that you can cook – if cooking is needed – without using your regular electric kitchen gadgets. Ready to eat canned meats, fruits and veggies that don’t need to be refrigerated, dry cereal and non-perishable pasteurized milk are all good options. Make sure you have a manual can-opener or a P38 to open those cans. Otherwise, you might find yourself going hungry or trying to plug your electric can opener into your car.

You’ll also want snacks throughout the day, but you want to stick with non-perishable options – protein bars, dried fruit, peanut butter and canned juice are all good options to help keep your blood sugar up.

You can survive for up to two weeks without food, but only up to three days without water. You’ll need one gallon of water per person per day – half for drinking and half for washing, brushing teeth and other hygiene needs.

It is also a good idea to purchase water purification tablets or a portable filtration system, in case water services are down longer than your supplies will last.

Include Personal Necessities

Food and water are only part of a good disaster preparedness kit. You should also include personal necessities, such as the following:

  • Prescription medications, glasses, contact lenses and other similar items. In some states, if the governor declares a State of Emergency, you can get an extra 30-day supply of your prescription medication
  • Food and water supplies for any pets you have. If your pets require any medication, make sure you have at least a two week’s worth of these as well.
  • Baby supplies, including formula and diapers if you have an infant in the house.
  • Feminine hygiene products, including pain relievers like Midol.
  • At least one change of clothes – this isn’t as important if you’re riding out the disaster at home, but if you’re evacuating you’ll want to have a comfortable change of clothes.
  • Copies of important documents, including birth certificates, social security cards, passports, insurance policies and bank records.
  • Cash or Travelers Checks – If the power is out, credit and debit card machines won’t work so it’s important to have the cash to pay for any necessities during the emergency.

The exact items in your kit will vary depending on the makeup of your family. If you don’t have a baby or a pet, you can leave those items out.

Don’t Forget First Aid

You should keep a fully stocked first aid kit with your evacuation and your home disaster preparedness kit. You can pick one up from the store or build your own. Make sure that it includes:

  • Moleskin fabric – this is useful for protecting blistered skin.
  • Antiseptic wipes or liquid – alcohol, betadine, iodine or other antiseptics are important for preventing infection.
  • Bandages – Band-Aids, liquid bandages, soft ace bandages for soft tissue injuries and paper tape for holding gauze in place should all be included.
  • Butterfly closures – If sutures aren’t an option, these are useful for closing large wounds until medical professionals can tend them.
  • Thermometer
  • Burn ointment and petroleum jelly
  • Over-the-counter medications – pain relievers, antacids, laxatives, anti-diarrheal medication, cold medication, etc.

If someone in your family is trained as an EMT, you can augment your kit with saline, sutures, oxygen tanks and anything else that could come in handy in the event of an emergency – but don’t stock up on this stuff unless you’re trained to use it.

Electronics and Utilities

Our modern world runs on electricity, so without it, most of us are cut off. Staying connected during a disaster can help you stay safe. A cell phone, a charger and a power bank to keep it charged even when the power is out are useful items to have. A battery-powered or hand-crank radio can help keep you in touch with emergency services as they make announcements.

In addition to this, things like work gloves, rain gear, and surgical masks can help keep you safe from environmental hazards. Scissors, duct tape, matches and plastic sheeting can also be useful tools and should be part of your disaster preparedness kit.

Where Should You Keep Your Kit?

At the minimum, you should consider setting up three disaster kits – your two-week supply at home, a smaller evacuation kit for in your vehicle and another smaller one for at your workplace. That way you’ll be ready for any disaster, no matter where you are when it occurs. In addition, you and your family can be even more prepared by having an emergency plan.

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – and a bit of preparedness is worth a lot when it comes to being prepared for a disaster. Whether you live in an area that faces earthquakes, tornados, wildfires, hurricanes or other events, you should have a preparedness kit ready for whatever the world throws at you.

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