As a child growing up in southern California, emergency preparedness was a standard part of our education. By the time I was five years old I knew how to “duck and cover” in the event of an earthquake. At six years old I was making emergency kits with first aid supplies and food rations. My Boy Scout troop encouraged me to develop an escape route in case of a fire in our house. Now, even with the constant fear of biological attacks from terrorists, most people would not even have a clue how to ready their home and family for an emergency (beyond breathing protection.) What good would a gas mask do if you starved to death or became dehydrated while waiting for help?
I’ve put together some of the most common things you’ll need to know to be safe and survive if you were stranded for any length of time. The American Red Cross suggests you check and restock your kit every 6 months.
Make sure you have a 3-5 day supply of water. You will need to calculate that at one gallon per person, per day. For a family of four, that works out to about 20 gallons of water set aside and ready for use.
Include anything that does not spoil and will not require cooking. This includes dry goods, canned food or XMRE Blue Line. It’s best to keep 3 days worth of food on hand.
This includes a first aid kit and needed medications, toilet paper, feminine supplies, plastic trash bags, change of clothing, rain gear and hiking boots or sturdy shoes, extra eye glasses (if you wear them), family and emergency contacts, cash, credit cards, a cell phone, and any special items for elderly, disabled, or infants in the family. Also have with you your ID, insurance paperwork, birth certificate, and passport.
Non-electric can opener, emergency tools including a battery-operated radio, extra batteries, flashlight, extra set of keys, candles and lighters, and blankets or sleeping bags.
**Don’t forget your pets! Make sure to include them in your tally for water and include their food and any special medications they need.
Something that my family has always had is a meeting place. In the event of a disaster and we are all separated, we will meet in a place that we are all aware of in advance. Your streets and roads may not be passable, so if everyone has one or two places to meet (in case one or the other is not available) then you will have the comfort of finding your loved ones quicker.
Preparedness may be the only comforting thing in the time of a disaster, so take comfort in knowing that you are ready for whatever life throws your way.