As you sit in the perceived safety of your home reading articles on the Internet, it is easy to feel immune from danger. Sure, you see accounts of life-altering disasters on the news, but they often seem far removed from you. All too often, we fall into complacency. While it is true that you may be lucky and never feel the effects of a disaster, it is unwise to fail to plan. Should a disaster affect you or someone you love, the benefits of having a disaster preparedness kit will far outweigh any inconvenience you went to in assembling it.
The first step in creating a useful disaster preparedness kit is selecting a lightweight and easily portable container. Because you never know what type of disaster you may face, you can’t adequately predict whether you will respond by staying or fleeing. If you do have to flee, you will have to do so quickly, so having your kit ready to go will prove advantageous. Select a large duffle bag or wheeled suitcase for optimal portability.
Survival and Rebuilding Essentials
Begin filling your selected receptacle with the basic essentials. Load in a flashlight along with plenty of batteries. Add a battery powered or crank radio. Select a multi-purpose tool that is compact and versatile such as an all-in-one pocket knife or a petite tool kit to add to the collection. Include soap and toilet paper to meet your basic sanitation needs. Finish this section with extra copies of important documents such as medical information, proof of address, deeds, passports and birth certificates. Place these documents, along with some extra cash, in a waterproof bag or cylinder.
Food and Water
Keep enough water on hand allow for consumption of 1 gallon per day for each person in your family. Place a box next to your flee-ready kit and fill it with a three-day supply of water. For your stay-and-fight plan, stow a two-week supply in a readily accessible location. Follow similar guidelines when gathering your food. Package up a two-week supply of non-perishables to take with you if you should have to flee and a three-week supply for response to disasters that force you to stay in your home. Don’t forget your pets; plan for them, too.
Prepare or purchase a first-aid kit containing sterile gauze, tape, adhesive bandages, pain reliever and disinfectant spray or gel. When preparing this section of your kit, consider any specialized medical needs members of your family may have. Pack a seven-day supply of any medicines you or your family members take regularly. Similarly, gather seven days of other medical supplies people in your family use daily.
Additional Items to Consider
To add to the overall usefulness of your kit, consider including some extras, such as raingear, matches, work gloves, extra clothing, duct tape and bleach. When deciding which extra to include, take into consideration the landscape that surrounds your home to enhance the usefulness of your final product. If, for instance, you live in a wooded area, packing a portable saw or tent may be specifically useful.