Disaster Kits - What You Need to Survive a Natural Disaster
Do you have a disaster kit? Before any sort of disaster occurs, whether it be flood, earthquake, tsunami or fire, it is common sense to prepare a disaster kit so that you will be able to handle whatever happens.
We seem to be seeing more and more disasters everyday on the news. Whether it is occurring more often or is just getting more news coverage, I don't know. The odds are some of us will become caught up in natural disasters in the near future. And we must be prepared for whatever comes.
When a natural disaster occurs, we can't always rely on police or governments to provide help. The grocery store might be so badly damaged you can't go into it, the supplies in the store might be quickly depleted or you may not be able to get to the store.
According to FIMA, the six basic supplies you need in a disaster kit are:
- first aid supplies
- clothing, bedding and sanitation supplies
- special items
You should have a three-day supply of water on hand, or about one gallon per day per person. FIMA recommends bottled water. However, they go on to say that if you are preparing your own water that you use "food-grade" water bottles or cleaned soft drink bottles. If your water is not already treated with chlorine, add some household bleach to the bottles. It should be stored in a cool, dark place for no longer than six months.
Put aside at least three-days worth of food in your disaster kit that is non-perishable and don't need refrigeration. Also, choose foods that don't need heating. Avoid foods with a high salt content as they will make you thirsty. You can include a can of sterno if you do want to heat food or drinks up. And don't forget a can-opener.
Foods that are recommended are:
- Candy, chocolate, tea, coffee
- Sugar, salt, pepper
- Canned juice, milk, soup
- Canned fruits, meat, vegetables
- Peanut butter, jelly, crackers
- Baby food if necessary
- Pet food for those of us who have pets
First Aid Supplies
Since I am not an expert this excerpt below on what first-aid supplies your disaster kit needs appears on the FEMA homepage:
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit should include:
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
- Triangular bandages (3)
- 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- Moistened towelettes
- Tongue blades (2)
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Latex gloves (2 pair) Sunscreen
- Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for stomach upset)
- Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
- Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
Contact your local American Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid manual.
Clothing, Bedding and Sanitation Supplies
Make sure your disaster kit contains clothes that will protect you from cold and from heat. You should include at least one change of clothing per person, including footwear. Make sure you bring soap, detergeant, toilet paper, feminine supplies, garbage bags (to dispose of personal waste), a plastic bucket with lid, disinfectant and household bleach.
Again, I am not an expert so here is the list from the FEMA homepage:
- Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Emergency preparedness manual
- Portable, battery-operated radio or television and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Cash or traveler's checks, change
- Nonelectric can opener, utility knife
- Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
- Tube tent
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic storage containers
- Signal flare
- Paper, pencil
- Needles, thread
- Medicine dropper
- Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
- Plastic sheeting
- Map of the area (for locating shelters)
Special items include family documents such as birth certificates, passports, wills, photo id, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, household inventory, cash, books and other entertainment, batteries, extra glasses and prescription drugs.