In The Event Of A Disaster

By Doug King


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What kind of insurance do we all need and yet less than two percent of us have? Give up? It's emergency preparedness supplies!

We all prepare for unexpected disasters when we buy various types of insurance, be it car, life, homeowners, etc. Not that we expect disaster to strike, but we want to be sure we are safe and prepared if it does.

Do you have enough mobile, life-sustaining supplies to carry you three to five days if a disaster occurs? Can you tell me when the next flood, winter storm, earthquake, tornado or other disaster will happen? We don't really know, do we?

Set A Goal

The key to getting prepared is to set a simple goal today and stick to it. You could begin today by placing this article on your refrigerator or desk with a target date for completion.

Emergency Preparedness Kits

Your home and each vehicle should have an emergency kit (also called a 72-hour kit). These kits can be grabbed on a moment's notice and could save your life as well as your sanity in the event of a disaster.

Regardless of the type of disaster , the supplies you need in an emergency kit are essentially the same. Here is a list of basic supplies, along with some useful explanations.

Emergency Preparedness Kit: Detailed List

Water. Place it next to your kit, NOT in your kit. Water is very bulky and heavy. You can store water in a plastic soda bottle, with a "Soda Pal(r)" strap carrier.

Emergency - Disaster Guidebook. A disaster book is extremely important. A good disaster guidebook must tell you what to do before, during, and after each type of disaster, how to find and purify water, make a shelter, get warm fast, start a fire, what to do if you are stranded in your car and more.

Water Purification Pills. All water must be treated in disasters.

Mylar Rescue Blanket. - Get the red and silver type, NOT the thin space-foil type.

Shelter. Never a "tube tent." Look for a tent that will fit in a small emergency kit.

Light Source. Cylume(r) lightsticks work for eight hours. Dynamo hand crank flashlight-Radios are great.

Heat. The best thing I know of is gelled ethanol alcohol. It comes in cans by cans by Alco Brite. You can safely burn these inside your car with the window cracked for oxygen.

Fire Starter. Wind and waterproof matches.

Sanitation. Use trash bags for human waste, and toilet treatment powder available at camping supply stores.

Communications. Get a Dynamo solar or hand crank radio.

Food. Food should be compact and lightweight. Coast Guard approved food bars are great and they last five years.

First Aid Book. I like "Handbook Of First Aid by Readers Digest."

First Aid Kit. Buy the best compact kit you can afford.

Waterproof Bag. A knapsack or gym bag will do, but it must be waterproof!

Cash. Small bills, particularly ones are best.

Important Papers. Include drivers and other licenses, birth certificate, social security card, insurance documents or proofs, and passport. Do not take originals. Copy the documents, reducing them to fit onto both sides of an 8" x 10" sheet of paper. Then have it laminated.

Gloves. Tough workman gloves with a warm lining.

Medical. Prescriptions, eyeglasses, hearing aids. Also diapers and any other special items you might need. Think ahead!

Knife-Tool. "Leatherman(r)" type. At Autozone stores and others.

Emergency Preparedness Kit: Quick List

Here is the basic list I described above. Cut it out for your to-do list.

[ ] Water placed next to (not in) your kit
[ ] Emergency Disaster Guidebook
[ ] Water Purification Pills
[ ] Mylar Rescue Blanket
[ ] Shelter - Scout Tent
[ ] Light
[ ] Heat
[ ] Fire Starter
[ ] Sanitation
[ ] Communications: Solar - hand crank radio
[ ] Food - lightweight
[ ] First Aid Book
[ ] First Aid Kit
[ ] Knapsack, Waterproof
[ ] Cash
[ ] Papers, license, insurance
[ ] Gloves
[ ] Medical, Prescriptions, eyeglasses, etc.
[ ] Knife Pocket-Tool

Putting together an emergency kit involves a little time and effort, but the effort will be well paid for when a disaster strikes.


Doug King calldoug@networld.com is an emergency preparedness writer/consultant and the author of The Emergency-Disaster Survival Guidebook.

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