Labor Day kicks off week two of National Preparedness Month, and this week’s theme is: Build a Kit. Emergency managers have a saying, “The first 72 is on you”, meaning you need to be prepared to fend for yourself for the first 72 hours of a major disaster. That’s three days. What do you (and your pets) need to have in a basic preparedness kit?
You’ll need one gallon per person per day for drinking, cooking, and sanitation. That means your emergency kit should have three gallons of water for each person in the household. Tip: buy a gallon of purified water each time you go to the grocery store. Make it a regular purchase, and in a month or two you’ll have a full supply. It’s easy to do one step at a time.
Again, you’ll need a three-day supply for each person and for your pets. Non-perishable foods with a long shelf life are best, including: ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, soups, vegetables, protein bars, peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts, granola, baby food and a can opener. This food supply is a second kitchen pantry, allowing you to use older items and replace them with new.
NOAA Weather Radio
Staying up-to-date with weather/civil emergencies is a must; get a battery-powered or hand crank radio with NOAA Weather Radio + Alerts. The Midland ER210 and ER310 Emergency Crank Radios represent five of the items for your emergency kit: AM/FM/Weather Radio, flashlight, and cell phone charger. The ER210 is the compact option of the two. The ER310 features a more powerful rechargeable battery and also accepts six alkaline batteries, giving you one more source of back-up power.
First Aid Kit
A basic kit will do, but bigger kits are now widely available and allow you to treat more serious injuries including bleeding wounds and broken limbs. Some kits feature tourniquets and emergency blood clotting bandages that can control severe bleeding. Remember, in a big disaster it can take hours for first responders to arrive. Be ready to fend for yourself.
Extra batteries for your devices, including your cell phone. Pliers to turn off natural gas. Gloves and shoes to protect you from broken glass and exposed nails. Plastic sheeting and duct tape in case you are asked to shelter in place.
If this list seems overwhelming to you, you are 100% correct – it is. This website will help you get motivated: Do1Thing.com
Their message: if you do one thing per month, by the time a year has passed you and your family will be well on your way to being prepared for disaster, and it won’t take a huge bite out of your budget. Sign up for their email and you’ll be reminded of each month’s action activity.
A family that is not prepared for disaster will become a statistic in the next one. As the head of your household, take it upon yourself to have a plan, build a kit, and make sure you’re all prepared. Natural or man-made disasters can happen any hour of any day of the year, often with short warning. Be ready now so you and your family will be survivors, not victims.