Your Disaster Kit
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No matter where you live, what your personal situation is, or what type of disasters you may be facing, there are some basic supplies everyone should have on hand “just in case” in your Disaster Kit. Here are the must have supplies for your disaster kit, that you should stock and store at all times to make sure you can make it no matter what life throws at you.
Welcome to part 2 of our Disaster Series. If you didn’t catch our previous post “Preparing for Disasters” make sure and click over and read that post too. Now on to todays feature:
Let me ask you something? Do you have a disaster kit? If not, it’s something you should work on right away. You never know when you’ll find yourself in a situation where you have to manage without power, internet, or the ability to head out to the store to buy what you need.
Food and Water for your Disaster Kit
Store at least a gallon of drinking water per person per day. Aim for supplies that last you three to eight days depending on the situation you’re in. In the case of a major weather event or other natural disaster, it may take a while for rescuers and supplies to make it to your area.
Keep a water filter, or a little Clorox on hand to keep water drinkable for longer time periods.
Non-Perishable, Ready-To-Eat Survival Food Storage:
When you are sheltering in place, are planning on staying in a shelter, or even dealing with the possibility of being stuck out on the road, having food and water is your top priority in any disaster situation. You can make it without power, and a lot of creature comforts, but you can’t survive without food and water.
Emergency food storage doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, it can be mainly comprised of items your family is already eating. Before you go out and start buying all the water, bread, and milk you can get your hands on, figure out how long you want to prepare for. Having at least a week’s worth of food and water stored up can be a great idea during a natural disaster. Keep in mind that you not only have to ride out the storm itself, but that it may also take extra time before help and supplies can make it to you.
Now let’s think about non-perishable food that your family will eat. Choose food that you can eat as is. Crackers and peanut butter are a good choice, as are canned beans, soups, and the likes. Canned tuna or chicken makes for a great protein source. Bread is another good option along with your favorite non-perishable sandwich toppings. Don’t forget about things like granola bars, protein bars, nuts or beef jerky that you can eat right from the package.
Lastly, have on hand several days worth of survival food per person.
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Last but not least, stock up on some favorite treats like chocolate, chips, pretzels, cookies and the likes. It will make getting through those tough disaster days a little more bearable.
Start with a list of things that you know your family will eat and things you’ll use up even when you don’t need them during a disaster. From there, start to round it out with things that will keep you full and healthy and pick those up as needed. For example, you may eat canned vegetable or chicken noodle soup regularly, but aren’t a big fan of tuna. Keep a small supply of the soups in your pantry at all times (rotating through them as needed), and pick up a few cans of tuna as needed.
Talk to your family about your survival food supply and let them have input into what you should stock and keep as well. It will give them a sense of control and responsibility and of course ensure that everyone is happy with the meals available when things get serious.
Include Clothing & Bedding in your Disaster Kit
If you are getting on the road, or sheltering somewhere outside your home, it’s important to have clothing and bedding to make it until you can get back home. Since many natural disasters can pop up quite quickly, it’s a smart idea to make a small pack of clothing part of you emergency kit.
You don’t want to pack regular clothing in your Disaster Kit. This is clothing that will have to help protect you in all sorts of situations and possibly weather. What to look for when packing your clothing needs:
• Durable. This may be all the clothing you have – so it has to last. Avoid clothing that is made of thin or cheap material, and make sure it is designed in a way that makes it easy to repair.
• Comfortable. You may have to walk out of your current location, which could take days, so you want to be wearing comfortable clothes.
• Versatile. The clothing in your Disaster Kit should be versatile for various different kinds of weather, different terrain types, and any possible situations that could arise.
• Inconspicuous. Select clothes that are not brightly colored and will not attract attention, this is not the time to bring your favorite stand out baseball cap or in your face t-shirt. You want to blend into crowds and your surroundings. You don’t want to attract attention from looters in urban areas; in rural areas, you don’t want to be easy to spot from a distance. Try to avoid camo, as it can attract negative attention, it's like a huge bulls eye screaming "I am a Prepper"!
• Natural fibers. Cotton, denim, silk and wool only – no poly synthetic blends. Synthetic fibers are far more flammable than natural fibers. Natural fibers are more breathable, wicking sweat and perspiration away and therefore more comfortable; ie no chaffing.
What to Pack
The following list is a basic description of what you will want to have in any Disaster Kit, but feel free to adapt it to your regional weather, the area you live in (rural or urban) and other considerations. Remember to select dark, subdued colors for all layers.
• Head Gear: Cap, beanie, scarf.
• Tops: 2 cotton t-shirts, 2 cotton long-sleeved shirts, rain jacket or poncho, wool sweater and topcoat (depending on region).
• Bottoms: Under wear and also consider lite weight long johns, 2 pairs of pants. Durable denim jeans or work pants are also good for any climate.
• Footwear: MULTIPLE pairs of socks. Again, bring more socks than you think you need. If you aren’t regularly changing your socks, you stand the risk of developing trench foot, a bacterial infection that is painful and dangerous. You want at least six pairs of socks. Wool socks are crucial in cold regions. Hiking boots are also crucial, as you may have to walk for days.
• Accessories: Leather work gloves or flight gloves are best. Leather belt if you have one. Remember, this isn’t your travel wardrobe. This is the dire emergency stuff you have in your Disaster Kit “just in case”. Adding a small pillow, a sheet, and a light blanket is also a good idea.
Essential Communication for your Disaster Kit
Aside from food and water, communication will be your biggest concern in an emergency event. You need to know what’s going on and you are going to want to get in touch with loved ones. Start with cell phones and chargers. They should be a high priority item that makes it into your emergency at the last minute. You may also want to keep a backup power supply or extra batteries for your phones in the kit. Make sure they are charged as well.
You should also keep a list of emergency contact information including addresses and phone numbers in there along with some old-fashioned maps. They will come in handy when the wireless system fails, or your phone dies.
The next important item that makes it on the list is a small battery operated weather radio. Keep a set of spare batteries with it as well. This is important because you will need the latest weather and government updates as well as news. Don’t rely on your phone and the internet as your only source for information. The network could go down or overload. This makes an important backup.
Flash Light And Batteries
Things always seem worse in the dark, don’t they? And not just that. It can be downright dangerous to move around outside, or even inside your home without a reliable source of light. Candles will work in a pinch, but they also bring the risk of setting your surroundings on fire. Instead make sure your kit includes several flash lights and spare batteries. Headlamps are particularly helpful when you’re trying to move around get stuff done.
First Aid Kits
Last but not least, let’s talk about a first aid kit. The size of your kit will depend on the size of your family. Start with a standard kit available at your local store and then add any and all medications you and your loved ones take and need. Check this kit and the rest of your disaster supplies regularly to make sure you’re prepared when you need to grab your supplies and leave quickly.
If you require prescription medication, stock up as much as you can ahead of time. You don’t want to risk running out. As you put together a basic emergency kit, include some first aid items so you can treat minor aches and pains as the need arises. While you’re at it, throw a few wet wipes and some mouth wash in there. Being able to clean up will make you feel much better.
Disaster Kit Miscellaneous Supplies
Let’s talk about some miscellaneous stuff that will come in handy. If you have a baby or pet, make sure you have plenty of supplies to keep them happy and healthy. Stock up on diapers, make sure you have a pet carrier and leash, and don’t forget about food and water for everyone, including pets. If you’re traveling or evacuating with a pet, check on places that will allow you to bring your furry friends.
A small kit with some plastic bags, tarps, duct tape and a few basic tools will also come in handy if you need to fix a leak or broken window. In short, be prepared and ready for anything.
Be prepared with a Disaster Kit and you’ll greatly increase your chances of making it through any emergency or disaster. The more prepared you are, the safer and more comfortable you’ll be when the inevitable happens.
Stay prepared, not scared,
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