Let’s revisit the motto: Get a kit, make a plan, be informed. I get comments nearly every day about this column. Most everyone is positive and say they enjoy the information. When I ask whether or not they’re actually doing the stuff, quite often they admit that they know they should, but just haven’t gotten started yet. Both F.E.M.A and the Red Cross recommend having a 72 hour emergency kit. That is having enough supplies and equipment to get you through three days without electricity, water or trips to the store. Just for the record I think 72 hours is a good start, but a 14 day kit is even better. Maybe we should ask the folks back east that survived Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy if they think 72 hours is enough.
One of the concerns I often hear is, “I’m just not sure where to begin.” So beginning today, for the next seven weeks I will be posting a step-by-step kit-building plan. At the end of the seven weeks, if you follow the steps, you will have a kit that will get you through the first 72 hours of most disasters. Not only will you will have a kit, but you will have a plan in place that will increase your family’s chances of survival. Keep in mind it is my experience that kits naturally grow because once you begin you keep finding essentials that you just can’t live without. So let’s get started.
Things to purchase Week 1:
1. A battery-powered radio, one with a N.O.A.A. weather channel and extra batteries.
2. Flashlights or battery powered lanterns (with extra batteries, of course) Avoid using candles because of the fire hazard.
3. Water to last three days. At least one gallon per person per day. Start with one gallon this week.
Tips for Week 1:
1. Start with these items that emergency responders consider the most critical to getting you through the first 72 hours until basic services may be restored.
2. Don’t be overwhelmed by a huge list of items. I’ve identified the most important things. Just buy a few items each week for seven weeks and you will be prepared for the most likely emergencies in our area.
3. Commercially bottled water is recommended to ensure safety. Replace before “use by” date expires.
I suggest you keep your kit in one general location. That way, when the power is out, you won’t be running around in the dark searching for your stuff. Every household is different and each house has a ‘best,’ if not ideal spot for your emergency kit. If you have a container in which to store your gear, all the better. One friend of mine uses an old ice chest for certain essentials. But most any good quality “tote” will suffice. As always send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns are on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is the Postmaster in Bandon, Oregon, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available at barnesandnoble.com and other online booksellers.