Seems like most folks I talk with about disaster prep sooner or later ask for a list. At that point in the conversation I usually do one of two things. I tell them to just imagine not being able to go to the store for a long period of time. What would you need to get by? It’s a little like planning a camping trip, what are you going to need? Make a list then lay in some supplies that would see you through most emergencies. The other option is to refer them to www.ready.gov or www.redcross.org. Both websites have excellent lists and suggestions for getting your kit together.
But for those who need that list right now, here’s a good starter:
1. Water-at least a gallon per day per person.
2. Food-a three day supply of non-perishable food, (a two-week supply is even better)
3. Radio-battery powered or hand-crank and a NOAA weather radio. Batteries for both.
4. Flashlight and extra batteries, lots of batteries
5. First aid kit.
6. Whistle-to signal for help
7. Moist towelettes, five gallon cans and garbage bags for sanitation purposes. (Eeeew!) The term “bucket seat” takes on a whole new meaning.
The list can go on, but don’t forget things like duct tape, zip ties, a wrench for shutting off the natural gas or propane, plastic sheeting, some cash, extra medications, and vitamins. This would be a good time to sit down with the family and brainstorm.
It is best to get a couple of totes and keep all your stuff in one place. Things like matches, candles, flashlights, batteries, some fuel canisters for your Coleman stove, and don’t forget a hand-crank can opener. I know from experience that kits tend to ‘grow’ as you accumulate more essential items. Vitally essential items, you understand..
Your list is going to be different than your neighbor’s. Their needs and priorities are different than yours. The needs of seniors will be different from the family that has an infant or children in the house. Also your home list is going to look differently than your “get home bag”. That’s the one you carry in your car to get you through an emergency if you happen to be away from home when disaster strikes.
If you’re at a loss as to what to add to your list, there are dozens of websites that are eager to sell you a kit. Click your way to their site and go over the list of contents in their kits. You will get good ideas on what to put in your own kit.
As always, if you have questions or comments you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns can be found 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.