Periodically ,whenever a major storm takes aim at civilization, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) reminds us what to put in our basic emergency kits. Here on the Oregon Coast we have few hurricanes to worry about although we do get some pretty destructive winter storms off the Pacific. Unlike the Gulf Coast, evacuations are rare because of the storms themselves, but the ensuing floods and landslides are ofttimes reasons to get out until things calm down. Wildfires and chemical spills are also reasons why coastal Oregonians could find themselves bugging out on short notice. Keeping a well-stocked kit on hand just makes good sense. Even if you never need to use it, it provides a comforting sense of well-being just having it ready.
Everyone knows they should have a basic kit, but here are a few additional items you may want to consider getting ready:
-Prescription medications. Check with your doctor and explain why you may need extras. Many doctors are sympathetic to the cause of disaster preparedness and are willing to prescribe extra meds. (Depending on the prescription.) The problem is your insurance company probably isn’t quite so sympathetic so you can expect to pay for the extra pills out-of- pocket. Also don’t forget to rotate your supplies as some medications lose their potency over time.
-Eyeglasses. Keeping an extra pair of glasses on hand is another example of good planning. Your optometrist will be happy to sell you an extra pair, but again, if you have vision coverage as a part of your health insurance plan, they usually offer very limited coverage anyway, so plan to pay for the additional cost out-of-pocket. I have noticed that some optical providers offer 2-for-1 deals from time to time so keep an “eye” out for those. (Sorry.)
-Pets and pet supplies. Don’t forget your faithful companions when making preparations. If they are on some type of medication, ask your vet for additional supplies and explain why. I keep an extra sack of dog food on hand and continuously rotate it when needed.
For more suggestions, check out www.ready.gov and spend some time there. You will find lots of useful information.
Now would be a good time to give the starter rope on your generator a good pull. I gave mine a couple of dozen good pulls last week with no results. (Well I was worn out, but that’s not exactly the result I was seeking!) After changing the spark plug, the gasoline and cleaning the carburetor, it now starts on the first pull. Ten minutes after the power goes out is not when you want to learn your standby generator is just going to keep on standing by. A spare spark plug, some Stabil (gasoline stabilizer) and a spare starter rope are inexpensive insurance for any small engine you may be relying on for an emergency. As always you may direct your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns are on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is a retired postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and other online booksellers