This is part four in a seven-part series on building your own 72 hour emergency kit. By way of review, nearly everyone agrees that we should be prepared to ride out a disaster. Some folks are unsure how to go about being prepared, what to do, what to buy and how to proceed. For the past few weeks I have presented a list of items to buy and some tips on what to do to get ready. At the end of seven weeks you will have a fully stocked 72 hour kit and will be prepared to face most disasters. I actually encourage having a 14 day kit, because some disasters don’t know they’re only supposed to last for 72 hours. In the case of our area, some experts predict a massive earthquake. When an earthquake of that magnitude occurs, it may be weeks before stores can be restocked as roads leading to and from our region may be closed. And the scope of damage will cripple the usual lines of supply. So a 72 hour kit is a good start, but that’s just it, a good start.
Things to buy Week Four:
1. Disposable camera with flash for documenting damage. While I’m on the topic of photographic documentation, now would be a good time to get a video inventory of your home and its contents. If you have a video camera, simply walk through your house and give a running commentary on your possessions, value and when purchased. Invaluable for that discussion with your insurance agent when the time comes.
2. Utility knife and/or scissors. This is separate from the scissors in your first-aid kit. These are for heavy-duty cutting. Hundreds of uses for sharp cutting instruments.
3. Heavy duty trash bags
4. Matches in waterproof container. Be sure to get the “strike anywhere” style. Matches are like duct tape, batteries and zip-ties, you can never have too many.
5. Sanitizing wipes. Good for cleaning things other than the baby’s bottom; like your hands, face and elsewhere!
6. Extra set of car and house keys. Store them in a secure location away from your primary residence.
7. Fruit, canned or snack-pack.
Begin thinking about packing a “go bag” with a condensed version of your home emergency kit in case you need to relocate temporarily.
Stay in the habit of keeping your gas tank at least half full and keeping your cell phone charged.
If you need to evacuate, be sure to remember your car phone charger. Better yet, get an extra and carry it in your glove box.
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.