Prepare for the worst, even while hoping for the best. Both human-caused and natural disasters happen at increasing rates. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about a fire, earthquake, or flood devastating communities. Every home and office should have an emergency preparedness kit. What should we have on hand?
- What do we need to stay alive? Think water and food. Have enough gallons of water to last the people in your group three or more days. You should also have, at minimum, a three-day supply of non-perishable foods, such as canned chicken and tuna, canned fruits and vegetables, and granola bars.
- Have flashlights and batteries. If there is no electricity, the flashlights will provide necessary light.
- Keep a fully stocked first aid kit. This kit should have a variety of bandages, medical tape, alcohol wipes, hydrogen peroxide, basic stitching tools, iodine, and pain medications.
- A hand-crank or battery-powered radio comes in handy for further information on the status of the disaster and rescue efforts.
- Bath and facial wipes and trash bags can provide quick personal clean ups when showering is unavailable or impossible.
- Have a whistle that can be used to signal for help and has a long audio range.
- Your emergency kit should also include materials for building a basic shelter, such as a tarp and duct tape.
- Face masks can help protect you if the disaster has airborne debris. Make sure that the masks filter out the air but don’t impede your breathing.
- If possible, it’s a good idea to have additional cell phones and portable chargers to call for help.
Your emergency kit can include other supplies that meet your situation. Parents will want to have baby formula, diapers, and baby first aid supplies. Additional changes of baby clothes and extra blankets would also be a good idea. People who have pets might want to add pet food and extra water. Prescription and non-prescription medications can also be included in the kit.
Another item to include in the emergency kit could be tools for disinfecting water. A Swiss Army knife can come in handy if anyone gets trapped or needs other assistance. Warm blankets and changes of clothing can make waiting for help more comfortable and reduce illness.