By Jason Kaefer
Let’s face it, none of us are REALLY prepared for an emergency. Whether you live here in California with the earthquakes, or in Florida with gale-force winds, we all live in a dream world where nothing bad happens. Well, take a moment to consider what you would do to protect your family in a time of crisis. Do you have the necessary things to last hours, if not days? If you answered no, don’t worry, you’re not alone! I began thinking about these things after experiencing the earthquake simulator at the San Francisco Academy of Sciences, where they bring you back in time to both the 1989 and 1906 earthquake.
First, understand that the threat of disaster isn’t necessarily impending, but you should still consider the possibility. Where do you live? Know the threats in your area ie tornado, floods, earthquakes. Plan for specific events. Also, consider your plan for either escape or shelter in place. Basically, if you shelter in place, you stay in your home and ride out the problem. Escape…. well…… let’s not slide too deep into that scenario!
But there are a few essentials that every family should have in their home, as well as in the car. Consider storing them in a pack in an easy to access place. Those apply to every family in every country.
One gallon a day per-person is essential for hydration and bathing. Use containers of the size pictured below and store it away from light and any pesticides. Try to avoid plastics that will contaminate the water.
In the aftermath of an emergency, power could be out for days. Store non-perishable food up to three-day supply. Consider canned food that your family will eat. Examples of this would include canned fruit, peanut butter, dried cranberries, granola, food for infants, and high energy foods. Remeber to keep an eye on the shape of the can; swollen or dented cans should be discarded. Also, remember to keep a trusty can opener in the house.
It’s the last thing you would think of! But if you’re sheltering in place for days, you should have an extra supply of prescription medication. There is no telling when you’ll visit a pharmacy again. Have at least 1-2 extra bottles stored in your home.
Keep at least four flashlights in the house. Our home is 2-bedroom 2-bath with an office. I like to keep a flashlight in each room, as I might be in one of the rooms during an outage. Its also good to have a flashlight handy for simple outages. And to be on the safe side, know where your breaker box is. It may seem tempting to light candles during an outage, but trust me, you’re better off using artificial light from a flashlight. Candles up the risk of fire, and for us, our little 2-year-old Jack adds to that risk, being that he hasn’t entirely learned the dangers of fire.
5. A first aid kit
Keep a first aid kit in an accessible part of the house. This may seem like common sense, but a lot of families don’t have them, and those who do likely don’t know what it consists of. You should have a kit stocked with bandages for scrapes and cuts, antiseptic spray or lotion, 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch), 1 instant cold compress, Scissors, 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches), and Tylenol. This is just to name a few items. Visit your local fire police station for more information on emergency preparedness.
6. Dust Masks
One over-looked piece of survival gear is the dust mask. Damage from your home or building could stir up clouds of unknown particles. Visit a Home Depot or hardware store near you and pick up a box of these things, their cheap and come in large quantities. These are good to have for reasons other than emergencies.
As I’ve said, the last thing we want to imagine is the thought of a catastrophe at our home, but once you’ve acquired the above listed, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing you have a plan in place. Also, you can use these items in your car.