Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Are you prepared?

To say the least, disaster doesn't always give warning.  Whether you are in California or Texas, Florida or Maine, there are times when nature takes us by surprise.  Earthquakes, winter storms, flash floods, tornadoes, hurricanes...the list goes on and on.   

My family lives in Texas, and now that I'm back on the Gulf Coast, it's (past) time to think about Hurricane Season.  It's in full swing, and two systems have hit the Texas coast all ready.  If you live in an area that could be impacted by a hurricane, you MUST have a disaster kit ready.  It's so hard when you're dashing in Target or Costco praying that there's a bottle or two of water left, or maybe, hopefully, the batteries or bulbs you need for your flashlight.

Here is a comprehensive list from FEMA's website:

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Three-day supply of water - one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
  • Matches and waterproof container.
  • Whistle.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
  • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
  • Other items to meet your unique family needs.

If you live in a cold climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that you will not have heat. Think about your clothing and bedding supplies. Be sure to include one complete change of clothing and shoes per person, including:

  • Jacket or coat.
  • Long pants.
  • Long sleeve shirt.
  • Sturdy shoes.
  • Hat, mittens, and scarf.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket (per person).

Just as important as putting your supplies together is maintaining them so they are safe to use when needed. Here are some tips to keep your supplies ready and in good condition:

  • Keep canned foods in a dry place where the temperature is cool.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
  • Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented, or corroded.
  • Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies.
  • Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
  • Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family needs change.
  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as an unused trashcan, camping backpack, or duffel bag.

1 comment:

Just a Girl in a Port said...

Well, I'm unprepared. Good thing I was never a Boy Scout. Of course, now I feel terribly guilty and should get cracking on becoming prepared.

Thanks for making more work for me. ;)