Get Through Any Disaster – What You Need To Know: Short Term Kit I
There are countless types of disasters that could occur anywhere and at any time and it certainly is worthwhile to take any precautions necessary before the onset of the disaster to ensure the continued health and safety of yourself and your loved ones. This series of Hubs will outline the necessities of preparation for any disaster, whether natural, man-made, or viral. The preparations for a disaster are also extrapolated near the end of this series into the precautions that could be taken in the case of a breakdown in the very fabric of society in a global economic collapse, widespread terrorist act, or lethal pandemic situation.
The Short Term Disaster Supply Kit
The very beginning of taking your first actions towards being prepared for the occurence of any disaster is the accumulation of the supplies required for a short term disaster supply kit. Although this is not intended to be a permanent supply, it will certainly help your family get through the first three hectic days of a disaster. Keep in mind that you cannot count on public shelters to provide much of anything. As we have seen in many natural disasters, including Katrina, the governmental officials are usually a day late and a dollar short when it comes to providing for the needs of a population that has been hard hit. Imagine if the scope of Katrina was spread nation-wide, and then see if you feel like putting your life into the hands of a bunch of addled myopic bureaucrats at FEMA.
No matter where you are going to be for the first few days of the disaster, the creation of a short term disaster supply kit will make that short time much more comfortable and allow you to concentrate on the dire issues at hand, namely where you are going to be spending the rest of the disaster: a time period that could reasonably stretch out to several years.
Therefore you should keep the kit in a readily accessible place and train your entire family as to its location and use. It is important to store virtually all the items in the kit in quality airtight containers such as Tupperware, or failing that, a good strong set of zipper lock bags, preferably the ones with double zippers, which will keep air penetration to a minimum. The short term disaster supply kit should be revised, replenished, and restructured every six months at the most.
The short term disaster supply kit should include:
The water should be kept in plastic containers that are meticulously clean and preferably pre-sterilized (with a bit of bleach). Since this is just a short term kit, there will not be a requirement to take along a truckload of 55 gallon drums of water. All you'll need is three 2 litre soft drink bottles per person per day with very tightly fitting caps that screw on. Be careful not to overtighten the caps as that may strip the threads and cause the cap to leak. Children, pregnant or nursing moms and ill patients may require at least twice that amount of water per day. Therefore, if you have a mom, dad, old grampa, and a baby you require a total of nine bottles for mom, nine bottles for dad, eighteen bottles for baby and eighteen bottles for grampa. Yes, it seems like over fifty bottles is an inordinate amount of water for just four people to survive three days, but you will be surprised at how fast it goes. You can count on at least two litres for drinking, another two or three litres for food preparation and washup, and then the rest for required personal hygiene. That's just with sponge washing... no baths or showers!
You must select foods that don't require refrigeration or too much preparation, especially cooking. You may not be able in the first three days to secure a fuel supply or may be in a location where you can't start a fire. You can do without a hot cooked meal for three days without negatively impacting on your nutritional requirements if you plan it carefully. Some of the best foods to include into the short term disaster supply kit are:
- Canned milk, juices, and ready to serve soups. Try to avoid powdered soup mixes as they will require you dip into your water supply.
- Canned meats, fruits and vegetables. Concentrate on foods that provide calories and energy. This is not a time to diet.
- Snack foods such as peanut butter, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, and jams.
- Check to see what snacks provide the highest level of calories and nutrition per ounce and stock up on them.
- Vitamins and infant foods are a must. Stock up on the best multivitamins you can buy.
- Salt, pepper, sugar... don't forget the staples!