The news headlines this week are all about wildfires. Fortunately, those of us on the South Coast of Oregon, are (for the moment) not threatened by wildfires. To the south of us, near Grants Pass, Medford and other southern Oregon cities, the story is a bit different. Then there is the monster fire threatening Redding, California. Thousands have been forced to evacuate, hundreds of homes lost and as of this writing, the fire in Redding is only 5% contained. Ask those folks if they could use a kit. Did they have one ready to go? How much warning did they get? What all were they allowed to take with them? If you didn’t get last week’s column, email me and I will send it to you. But for now, let’s get started.
“How do I get started building my kit?” Truly some folks are simply overwhelmed by the task. “What do I buy? How much do I need? Where do I store my kit?” are all questions commonly asked. Each week for seven weeks I will create a list of items to buy and things to do. After seven weeks, if you follow the steps, you will have created a kit capable of getting you through the first three days of most disasters. My recommendation is that you keep building on your own until you have a minimum of 14 days’ supplies, but this is a great start.
Week Two shopping list:
1. Manual can opener.
2. First aid kit. Should start with gauze and bandages, tweezers, scissors and antiseptic ointment. Add some hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, suture kit, the list is endless.
3. Airtight bags, storage containers and a permanent marker. I find that both two gallon and five gallon buckets with lids are ideal for storage. Use the marker to list the contents and the date.
4. Extra prescription medications, eyeglasses and contact lens solutions. Collaborate with your doctor on this one. He (or she) will probably be sympathetic once you explain why you need extras. Your insurance provider may not be as sympathetic, but you might work with your pharmacy on this one.
5. Bring home another gallon of water.
6. Non-perishable food. Start with a few cans of meat, fruits, some peanut butter and crackers. Try to stick with food you are accustomed to eating.
7. Plastic sheeting, tarp and duct tape.
Tips for Week Two:
1. Collect your supplies in one place. When the lights are out and confusion reigns, it is just simpler when your kit is together.
2. Consider having two kits. One at home and one in your car. Not everyone is at home when disaster strikes. There is a multitude of kits on the market, but it is still best to build your own.
3. Rotate your stock of food, water, medicines and batteries every six months to ensure freshness.
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 a retired Postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available at Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and other online booksellers. Also ‘like’ us on Facebook at “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us.”