According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) and the Red Cross, the mantra for disaster preparedness is: Get A Kit, Make A Plan, and Be Informed. Trust me when I say that survival is not a kit. Knowledge is more important than “stuff.” Preparedness and survival is all about a plan, your kit is simply a big part of your plan. I must admit that building a kit is more fun than making a plan, but it is all about a balanced approach to coming out ahead in the event of a disaster.
For the past few weeks, I have been providing a shopping list and a list of tips for building a 72 hour kit. I firmly believe a 72 hour kit is only a good start. Your long-range plan should be to extend your kit to a fourteen day supply as most disasters don’t know to stop at 72 hours. Ask those folks who have left their homes in Northern California in the face of wildfires. Some have no home in which to return, others have been gone way more than fourteen days.
After seven weeks, those who participate will have a well-rounded starter kit that should see them through most emergencies. Because we all have different needs, everyone’s kit will be different. Some of us have babies in the house, so those families will want to stock up on infants’ things, others will have folks with special needs and those requirements must be considered as you build your kit and make your plan. For those reasons, I don’t recommend buying one of the kits on the market, as they will probably not meet your family’s complete needs during an actual emergency. So having said that, let’s get to it!
Shopping list for Week Five:
1. Gloves. Latex or non/latex, plus a good pair of work gloves.
2. Paper plates, cups and utensils
3. Canned vegetables, soup/stew.
4. Toilet paper (lots) and paper towels.
5. Travel sizes of personal hygiene items, dental care, soap, feminine care, deodorant, etc.
6. Disinfectant wipes.
7. Supplies for baby, elderly or special needs.
Tips for Week Five
Select an emergency contact person residing out of the area for family members to contact in case they are separated. Sometimes it’s easier to connect a phone call out of the area than it is to get through locally.
Keep a copy of this seven week list in your car when you go shopping. Check off items as you go.
Make sure that all adults and teens in your household know how to shut off water and utilities.
Never use a portable generator in an enclosed area. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Clean, pure drinking water may be in short supply during an emergency. For a free set of plans to build a water filtration system send me an email. 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.