Your house is dark, there is no electricity. The only sound to be heard is the creaking of the damaged structure. You and your family set huddled in the cold, dark basement. Panic is the air, and they are all looking at you for answers. Are you prepared for this situation? If you had made a disaster kit you would be!
A disaster kit can mean the difference when tragedy strikes. It will provide you with peace of mind and the necessary tools to keep you and your family safe. There is nowhere in the United States where the threat of a disaster is non-existent. Whether it be terrorists, natural disasters, or nuclear warfare there is always the possibility of the unexpected happening. A disaster kit will ensure that you have the right items to sustain a comfortable existence in the event of a disaster.
Knowing what to put in your disaster kit is the the most important thing. Simply having one will mean nothing if it doesn’t contain the right items. So, what should a good disaster kit contain?
1. Water: If you have nothing else, make sure you have water! Water is the most important element for survival. When a disaster strikes it can often contaminate the local water supply, so having your own bottled water will be a big asset. Make sure that you have enough for everyone to stay hydrated for many days. Refresh the water in you kit every six to eight months to ensure that it stays fresh.
2. First Aid Kit: If someone is hurt during the disaster you
will want to have a first aid kit. Make sure your kit contains common medications, such as anti-diarrhea medicine, general pain relieving pills, and anti-vomiting medication. In addition to medicine you will want to have alcohol and bandages, towels, and hand sanitizer.
3.Food: Make sure that you pick foods that are high in calories and have a long shelf life. Any canned foods will have long shelf life, just make sure that you add a can opener to the kit. Another great food to add to your disaster kit is peanut butter. It has an extremely long shelf life and is high in much needed protein. Try to diversify your stock. Have some canned fruit, vegetables, and meat available.
4. Battery Operated Essentials: A flashlight, radio, and possibly even a small television will all be handy. Remember that during a disaster there may be no electricity available, so only pack battery operated items in your kit. These items will enable you to stay informed on any emergency warning or updates, and a flashlight will be an essential tool. Don’t forget to pack plenty of extra batteries!
5. Comfort Items: You never know how long you will have to rely on your disaster kit, so pack some items to keep everyone comfortable. Blankets, extra clothes, and pillows are always a good idea. If you pack extra clothes or shoes don’t forget that sizes change over time, so keep the correct sizes for everyone in your kit.
A disaster kit doesn’t have to be a big financial hassle. You can make a homemade disaster kit on a limited budget. Think about all of the items you donate or throw out each year. Instead of getting rid of out-dated clothes or linens, put them in your kit. Nobody is going to be worried about whether or not you are wearing an outfit that went out of style two seasons ago. Also, go through your cabinets and find canned items that haven’t been used. Add those to your kit too. The other items needed can be purchased at a local thrift store or swap meet. If you cannot afford to purchase a first aid kit you can usually find them for free at local hospitals or fire departments. A homemade disaster kit containing all that you could afford is better than no disaster kit at all.
In addition to having a kit, it is also a great idea to take disaster preparedness classes and first aid classes. This will ensure that you are as prepared as possible in the event of a disaster. You can make it a habit to update your kit every six months when you change the batteries in your smoke detector. Ensure the safety and comfort of your family with either a homemade disaster kit or a store bought kit.