Make an Emergency Preparedness Kit

September 13th, 2012

Currently, the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal regions are in the midst of peak hurricane season which extends from mid-August to late October. If you live in a community affected by hurricanes, you will likely be left without electricity, water, gas, and other services. Furthermore, relief workers may not be able to reach you and your family for days following the disaster. In a disaster situation such as this, an emergency preparedness kit may be necessary for survival. These kits consist of basic necessities to help you survive for at least three days if aid is not available. The list of basic emergency kit supplies provided below is based on suggestions by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and American Red Cross.

The emergency preparedness kit should include:

Water

Store at least a minimum of a three-day supply of no less than one gallon per person per day. The stored water should be replaced every 6 months. An alternative to storing water is to stockpile a water filter that will produce drinkable water from any source, including a lake or pond. The advantage of using a water filter instead of storing water is that it eliminates the extra space that is required for water bottle/container storage, and reduces excess waste production.

Food

Store enough non-perishable food to last at least three days. Dried fruit and crackers can be stored for six months, and canned foods can be used until the expiration date on the can. Be sure to remember to include a manual can opener in the kit! Some products can be stored indefinitely, such as white rice, dry pasta, powdered milk (in nitrogen-packed cans), wheat, dried corn, soybeans, and instant coffee or tea. Remember that many of these items will need to be cooked or reconstituted with water so you will need to have plenty of clean water available. Try to store all of the food items in a cool dry place in water-proof containers to keep foods dry and away from pests.

Other Essential Items:

  • Flashlight
  • Hand crank radio or battery-powered radio
  • NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit: See the Anatomy of a First Aid Kit provided by the American Red Cross
  • Medications
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • N95 dust mask for filtering contaminated air
  • Moist towelettes and garbage bags for sanitation
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with charger, inverter, or solar charger
  • Emergency blanket
  • Duct tape and plastic sheeting to create a shelter
  • Copies of personal documents (birth certificates, passports, important medical information, insurance policies, etc.)
  • Extra cash

Store all supplies in one or two containers that are easy to carry, like an unused trashcan or plastic bin, and make sure that all family members know the location of the supplies. Keep the emergency preparedness kit in an easily accessible location so that it can be found quickly. To ensure that items such as food and medications do not expire, place the older items in the kit so that they are most visible and check the kit supplies every six months.

Being unprepared for a disaster can have serious consequences. Put together an emergency preparedness kit and have peace of mind in knowing that you are ready for any type of emergency situation.

Be sure to read next week’s blog for more detailed information about emergency water storage.

 


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