For the past few weeks I have been listing items to purchase to complete a 72 hour disaster preparedness kit. As I have mentioned a 72 hour kit is only a good start. Fourteen days is much better and more if you can manage it. Building an emergency kit does not need to break the bank. Picking up a few extra items now and then will build up over a period of time and before long your pantry is filled with supplies that will carry you through a disaster. But for now the primary plan is to “just do it” and a 72 hour kit is a great start.
Week 7 Shopping List:
1. Small tool kit. Include a wrench (slip-joint wrench like “Channellocks” or water pump pliers) for shutting off utilities, hammer, nails, screwdrivers, screws, duct tape, zip ties and on and on and on…. This is one aspect of the kit that can grow, swell and improve with every trip to the hardware store.
2. Signal flares.
3. Insect repellent. While we’re on this topic, I have recently read about people using wasp/hornet spray for personal defense. It’s less expensive than pepper spray, reaches out at least 20 feet and temporarily incapacitates anyone intent on causing you harm.
5. Granola or dry cereal.
6. Extra pet food. Also if your pet requires medication, get some extra for them as well. And don’t forget, your pet requires water.
7. Fire extinguisher. Be sure it carries the ABC rating. If you need training in its use, contact your local fire department.
Be sure to include pets in your plan.
When you leave town, take your go-bag along. Disasters don’t always happen while you’re at home. At that point it becomes your “get home” bag.
Keep your car’s gas tank above ½ tank. You never know when you get that call in the middle of the night to go visit your ailing, wealthy aunt in the hospital. Not a time to be out of gas with none available. This may sound strange if you live in an urban environment, but those of us living in rural America, finding a gas station open at 2:00 AM can be a challenge.
Remember, survival is not a kit. Survival is a plan and the kit should be a part of your plan. It is best to keep your kit in a single location, not strewn about the house, some things in one closet, other items in the basement and yet other things stacked in the garage. Try to set aside an area for all your gear and supplies. When the power goes out and things are mildly chaotic at your house, you don’t want to be searching in the dark for your stuff. Make sure the battery powered lantern is the most easily-located item in your inventory. The power seldom goes out during daylight hours. Flashlights, lanterns and other lighting devices are the first things you will want to get operational. Happy prepping!
This concludes the seven part series on Building Your Kit. 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.