Personal Preparedness...in a few easy steps
GET PREPARED NOW. It's almost as easy as counting to 10... "If we all prepared as individuals, we will be better able to survive as a community when a disaster strikes." -- Sue Fisher, Emergency Management Coordinator, CSUF.
PRINTABLE CHECKLIST for your "Grab N Go" bags.
(1) A CONTAINER
Duffle bags, back packs, plastic containers of any sort can store your supplies. Just find something with handles so it can be portable, when possible. At home, plastic buckets with screw-top lids and handles are a great storage solution.
Probably t he most important thing in your preparedness kit is water. You can live up to 3 weeks without food, but barely 3 days without water. Staying hydrated also increases your body's ability to withstand stress and fight off disease. One gallon per person per day is the recommended amount. Plan now!
Consider TWO aspects when choosing food. ONE: Choose food that will last wherever you need to store it. Stuff stored outside, such as a porch or the trunk of your car, will need to be more robust to long-term hot temperatures than food stored in your house or in shaded areas. TWO: Choose food that you really like! Yeah, tuna stores well, but in a crisis situation, your fondness for tuna will not change. Disasters need some silver lining, so choose food that tastes good. Even melted chocolate is tasty. Here is a suggested list of food to put in your emergency kit.
(4) MEDICAL SUPPLIES
You can purchase pre-made first aid kits, or make your own. Kits need not be complicated. You really just need plenty of gauze pads, some roller and triangular bandages and an assortment of adhesive bandages. Add other items that you feel you need or require, such as antihistamines or ibuprofen. Add insect repellent and sun screen too.
(5) COMFORT ITEMS
Have a change of clothes that includes something warm, comfortable shoes and extra socks. Those mylar "space" blankets will keep you warm, but a nice soft fuzzy blanket will also warm your soul, which will probably be just what you need in a crisis situation. Adding games or books may help pass the time if you are stranded somewhere.
Most of us rely so much on our cell phones that we cannot remember what it was like without one! During disasters, we want to call our family and friends to let them know you are OK and find out if they are. In major earthquakes, communication will be disrupted, so make sure you have a list of important phone numbers in case you run out of battery. Have a mutual out of state contact with whom every one can check in.
At a minimum, one should have a knife in their emergency kit. A can opener, scissors, flashlight and batteries are important too. Beyond that, add what make sense. At home, a shovel, crowbar and gas turn-off wrench make sense. A solar charger for your phone might be a good thing to have too. Alternatively, hand-crank radios often have ports to recharge cell phones and other small electronics.
They too need an emergency kit and a plan. Besides the essentials of food and water, make sure you have a leash, collar, bedding and toys. Having an up to date vaccine document will be very useful if you need to check your pet into an animal shelter.
(9) SPECIAL NEEDS
Whether short or long-term, if you need something for your life-support, remember to include them in your emergency plan. Include plans to enlist others to help you if needed. Try to stock up on needed medications as much as possible and have them readily accessible if you need to leave your home quickly. For Infant and Child Emergency Preparedness ideas, download this document.
(10) A PLAN
Make a simple plan that all family members can follow. Arrange for a single out of state contact for everyone to call and report you are OK. PRACTICE the plan so that everyone knows where to meet and exit your house. Give everyone a role in your plan and be prepared to pitch in to help.